'Our kids deserve better': Maimane slams basic education's plans to eradicate pit toilets only in 2022

22 December 2020 - 09:00
By unathi nkanjeni AND Unathi Nkanjeni
One SA Movement leader Mmusi Maimane.
Image: Twitter/Mmusi Maimane One SA Movement leader Mmusi Maimane.

One SA movement leader Mmusi Maimane has slammed the department of basic education's plans to eradicate pit toilets at schools only in 2022.

According to the department's minister Angie Motshekga, who was replying to a written question in parliament, there are plans to eradicate pit toilets by March 2022.

Lobby group Equal Education said earlier this year that the latest National Education Infrastructure Management System (NEIMS) report showed there were nearly 4,000 schools in the country still using “plain pit latrines”.

“The plan is to eradicate the dependency on basic pit toilets at the identified schools by March 2022,” said Motshekga.

“The SAFE programme (Sanitation Appropriate For Education) was launched to address the sanitation at 3,898 schools that reportedly were still dependent on basic pit toilets. Of these 3,898 schools, 427 have now been closed mostly due to rationalisation.

Motshekga said 725 of these schools were assessed and the sanitation was confirmed to be of “an appropriate standard”, though some of these sanitation facilities require some form of maintenance.

“The remaining 2,747 schools require intervention to eradicate the dependency on basic pit toilets,” she said.

She said data revealed that the majority of these schools were situated in KwaZulu-Natal (1,168) and the Eastern Cape (997), Limpopo (298), Free State (123), Mpumalanga (106), and North West (55).

“Of these 2,747 schools, the work has progressed to practical completion at 612 schools. There are current construction projects at a further 420 of the 2,747 schools,” said Motshekga.

Reacting to the plan, Maimane was “appalled” and claimed the word of the department of basic education should not be taken on anything.

“A department that has failed to do something as basic as providing toilets in every school should not be taken at their word on anything. Our kids deserve better,” he said.

“We need better than a department that thinks 30% is success and taking two additional years to solve the pit toilet problem is acceptable.

“We cannot do better than the quality of our education allows. As long as we have low expectation administration we will have low outcomes.”