913 schools in South Africa have no water

30 May 2016 - 16:34 By Bongani Nkosi

A handful of activists belonging to Equal Education‚ a lobby organisation‚ have picketed outside the Department of Basic Education in Pretoria.

Image: Gallo Images/Thinkstock

“This is the world of sorrow‚ this is the world suffering‚” they sang.

“Izolo mama bengingekho‚ ngiyolwela imfundo‚” the song continued. This loosely translates to “I wasn't home yesterday mama‚ I went to fight for education.”

This is one of four pickets Equal Education is holding at the basic education offices across the country. The three others are in the Western Cape‚ Eastern Cape and Limpopo.

The organisation said this protest action was meant to highlight that Minister Angie Motshekga's department won't meet the 29 November 2016 deadline set for it to ensure all public schools have proper infrastructure.

After a long-drawn legal battle‚ Equal Education forced the department to adopt norms and standards for school infrastructure in November 2013.

According to this statutory document‚ the department has to ensure that by 29 November 2016 there are no longer schools without any water‚ electricity or sanitation‚ and schools built from inappropriate structures.

“It is painfully clear to us that this deadline will not be met‚” Equal Education said on Monday.

According to the organisation‚ the department's 2015 statistics show that: - 452 schools have no electricity‚ - 913 have no water and - 128 schools have no sanitation facilities.

Furthermore‚ 4‚773 schools have unreliable water supply and 2‚854 have unreliable electricity.

A total of 10‚419 schools “continue to suffer with pit latrines”‚ it said.

Basic Education spokesman Elijah Mhlanga has received Equal Education's memorandum of demands.

He told the activists the department was doing its best to supply schools with required infrastructure.

“It is not possible to fix all the schools in the same time‚ but it is possible to fix those schools [over time]. We come here every day to do all we can to fix the schools‚” said Mhlanga.

- TMG Digital/Sowetan

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