POLOKWANE, SOUTH AFRICA– The High Court in Polokwane in South Africa’s Limpopo Province has ordered the Department of Basic Education (DBE) in the province to replace all pit latrines in schools following the death of a five-year-old pupil, Michael Komape, who died after after falling into a pit latrine at his school in 2014.
On Monday, Judge Gerrit Muller handed down judgment in the Limpopo High Court in Polokwane in which he dismissed a compensation claim of three million Rand (about 243,000 US dollars) for the family of Kompane but ordered the Limpopo Education Department (LED) to replace all pit toilets in rural Limpopo schools. The order will be under the supervision of the court.
In addition, Judge Muller ordered that the department pay 6,000 Rand each to Michael’s siblings, Maria and Onica Komape, for future medical treatment.
The judge said getting 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 ordered the department to supply the court with an audited list of all the schools in question and to present costing and timelines so that the court can provide oversight in respect of ensuring these learners’ rights to decent sanitation is realized.
The department committed to comply with Judge Muller’s order to ensure that sanitation infrastructure is a reality.
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, said the department.
In March this year, another five-year-old pupil died in sumilar tragic circumstances. Lumka Mkhethwa of Luna Primary School in Bizana in Eastern Cape Province met the same fate as Komape. President Cyril Ramaphosa has ordered the department to urgently address the sanitation infrastructure backlog.
The judgment of the High Court in Polokwane 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 Limpopo. Work in this regard is already underway, said the department.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK