The department of basic education has set aside R600 million to ensure schools have water and sanitation, according to Mbulelo Tshangana, the director-general of the department of water and sanitation.
Tshangana, who was speaking at a briefing on Wednesday to provide an update on the R16 billion irregular expenditure within the department, said Rand Water would be implementing the project on the department’s behalf.
“They have a very good infrastructure to manage that particular programme [and] have appointed a CPO – chief procurement officer – to do exactly that, and have also implemented what is called the emergency procurement,” Tshangana said.
He added that Rand Water had already negotiated with all suppliers in the country to ensure targets are met.
“It does not make sense for us to get the children back to school if there is no water. We can’t be asking them to wash their hands if there is no water, so we will be prioritising this – we do have the budget,” Tshangana said.
The department informed parliament that at least 3,475 schools needed water and sanitation.
The department would also be working with basic education department officials, as well as municipalities, to ensure it consults with all structures on the ground.