Alex Japho Matlala
2 minute read
18 May 2020
6:50 am

Limpopo toilet plan remains the pits, says DA

Alex Japho Matlala

Limpopo MEC for education Polly Boshielo says her department will provide about 200 schools with appropriate sanitation facilities this financial year, but the Democratic Alliance (DA) calls these numbers tantamount to an insult.

Image is meant for illustrative purposes. Photo: Bernard Chiguvare

The party cited the latest statistics from the National Education Infrastructure Management System, revealing that a total of 472 schools still had pit toilets as the only means of sanitation in Limpopo.

The DA wrote to Boshielo at the weekend asking her to reprioritise her budget. The party claimed the MEC had failed to keep to the commitment she made in her previous budget speech in which she said she would work against the clock to eradicate pit toilets in the province this financial year.

In her previous financial year budget speech in July last year, Boshielo said: “In this financial year, the department will eradicate pit latrines in all the 507 schools and replace them with proper sanitation facilities.

“There will be no talk of pit latrines in the next financial year.”

Now the DA is vowing to take her on, accusing her of being inconsistent.

“This indicates that very little has been done in ensuring proper sanitation facilities in schools and pit toilets will remain a part of our pupils’ realities in the 2020/21 financial year,” said DA provincial leader and MPL Jacques Smalle yesterday.

Smalle said the party was very concerned about how schools would manage to uphold hygiene standards when they reopened, in particular hand-washing and regular toilet cleaning with disinfectant as statistics proved the province did not have appropriate sanitation facilities.

“Reading from her budget speech last week, the MEC Boshielo indicated 215 schools will be provided with appropriate sanitation facilities in the current financial year. This is simply not good enough,” Smalle said.

“There should be no pit toilets at schools. The MEC and her department should reprioritise the budget to address the sanitation backlog.”

Boshielo had promised to address sanitation in the province’s 507 schools.

She said the national basic education department would take responsibility for 300 of the schools and her department would build the infrastructure in the remaining 207.

Neither the MEC nor the department were available to comment.

– alexm@citizen.co.za

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