The Department of Basic Education (DBE) has noted the judgement handed down today in the Michael Komape court case in the Limpopo High Court in Polokwane.
Judge Muller dismissed the R3 million financial compensation claims of the family, however has ordered the Limpopo Education Department (LED) and the Department to replace all pit toilets in rural Limpopo schools under the supervision of the court as well as pay R6000 each to the minors Maria and Onica Komape for future medical treatment.
The Judge indicated that requiring the department to replace all pit latrines in the province is more beneficial to all learners than the awarding of compensation on constitutional grounds to one family.
He has ordered that the LED and the department to supply the court with an audited list of all the schools in question and that the LED and Department present costing and timelines so that the court can provide oversight in respect of ensuring these learners rights to decent sanitation is realised.
This judgement comes at a time when, as the Department of Basic Education, we are seized with the matter of school infrastructure and pit latrines in particular as per President Cyril Ramaphosa’s directive that addressing sanitation infrastructure backlogs must be accelerated.
As a result, an audit of all school toilets is currently underway in all provinces and a comprehensive costed plan will be given to the President for consideration within the set timelines.
The Judgement of the High Court in Polokwane today falls directly in-line with the directive from the President which goes even further than the Judgement to include all schools across the entire country, not just in the Limpopo Province. Work in this regard is already underway.
As the Department of Basic Education we continue to sympathize with the family of Michael Komape for the terrible loss they have suffered and commit to comply with the order of the High Court and ensure the delivery of suitable sanitation infrastructure in all of our schools across the country.
Source: Government of South Africa