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Transforming Society

Securing Rights

Restoring Dignity

Bushes for toilets and 76 pupils in one classroom

09 July 2017

Parents of pupils at Mapani Primary School in Makushu village expressed displeasure in the way the Limpopo Department of Education had ignored their pleas for the department to build new toilets and classrooms for the school.
At least 400 pupils still have to relieve themselves in the bushes, which are in the school yard. During the paper’s recent visit to the school, Limpopo Mirror found that there’s no privacy between boys and girls while responding to the call of nature in the short bushes. Passers-by also watch them from outside the school yard. The yard reeks of faeces and this very odour also wafts into classrooms.

The school governing body’s chairperson, Ms Eunice Masuwa, said that they had since submitted numerous letters and memorandums to the department with no effect. “As you can see with your naked eyes, pupils are relieving themselves in the open spaces between the bushes,” she said. “Is this how it should be? What is education after all?”

All teachers, including the principal, refused to comment. However, some pupils were eager to speak out about the bad conditions in their school. “One girl nearly fell in the hole which is in the toilet side last week,” said a pupil. “After the incident, she was disturbed and even asked us not to tell the teachers or principal, because half her leg was covered in faeces. She just washed it off at the tap.”

All available grades are overcrowded. Some pupils even sit on chair frames due to lack of chairs and desks.

“There were a few iron sheet toilets which the school built some time ago,” Masuwa said. “They wore off quickly. Some were swept off by the wind.”

After learning about the situation at Mapani Primary School, the Democratic Alliance launched an investigation into the matter. “We observed shocking levels of overcrowding as well as learners relieving themselves in the bushes during break time,” said the DA’s provincial spokesperson, Mr Jacques Smalle. “We filed a complaint with the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) against the Department of Education in Limpopo for failing to build adequate toilet facilities and classrooms for learners at the school.”

The DA also wrote to the MEC for the Department of Education, Mr Ishmael Kgetjepe, requesting the provision of temporary mobile toilets and classrooms for the school as a matter of urgency. “The situation at Mapani Primary school reflects a challenge faced by most schools in the province where a serious lack of desks, chairs and chalkboards are affecting a conducive learning environment,” he said.

The spokesperson for the Department of Education, Dr Naledzani Rasila, said that the concerned parties must direct the Grade R issue to the Department of Social Development. “We are trying our best to deliver services to the schools and for the pupils,” he said. “Unfortunately, we are unable to reach all schools and pupils in the province at the same time.”

Source: Zoutnet

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