MEC’s silence is deafening

Mbali Ntuli

DA KZN Spokesperson on Education

A recent parliamentary reply to questions posed by the DA revealed that there are 3 419 pit toilets at KZN schools, while a further 518 schools in the province have no electricity.

Despite these alarming figures, there has been no comment from provincial education MEC, Peggy Nkonyeni.

Pit toilets are not only dangerous – last year a young student died after falling into one at school – they also spread disease and bacteria.  For a school to function effectively without electricity is also virtually impossible.  Certainly, the use of computers and other critical education aids falls by the wayside, further compromising learners.

During a recent provincial Education portfolio committee, the department stressed that those schools most in need of infrastructure would be the focus so that they meet the norms and standards for schools by 2016.

The use of pit toilets and no electricity must be viewed by the department as needing urgent intervention.

The DA expects the MEC to present a progress report on her department’s interventions on these two issues and announce steps that will be taken to address them.  The DA has also asked for the names of all affected schools in order to conduct oversight visits to determine the progress of the department’s interventions.

The MEC must treat this issue as urgent – not just in the interest of providing a safe, clean environment for our learners but also as a matter of restoring their dignity.