DA uncovers horrific eMalahleni school toilets and assists

By Jane Sithole MPL, DA Spokesperson on Education:

The DA yesterday visited Mmagobane and Vuma Combined Schools in eMalahleni with Desiree van der Walt MP, our Shadow Deputy Minister of Basic Education.

During the visit, we found that the state of school sanitation, like in other parts of the province, is being horrifically neglected.

At Vuma combined school, water poured onto the bathroom floors from broken pipes and taps. Some of the toilet seats and basins were completely broken and unusable.

Through our engagement with concerned staff and community members, we found that Community Development Workers, (CDWs) had been appointed to maintain the school grounds but instead of fixing broken equipment, they allegedly sit in the library day after day doing no maintenance while being paid by the state.

At Mmagobane Combined School, the situation was much worse. The toilets were dark with pools of dirty water on the floor – possibly effluent. Many of the toilets couldn’t flush and were filled with rotting faeces and newspapers.

Click here for pictures.

What made this situation very sad was the fact that the school was hosting a sporting event and over 300 guests would be forced to use those toilets. The DA intervened; we secured and delivered four mobile toilets to ensure that the event went off in a dignified manner.

According to the Government Gazette of 12 September 2013 the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga said, “All schools must have access to sufficient water supply which complies with all relevant laws for drinking and personal hygiene.”

Teachers at both schools were fed up with the situation but said that they were victimized when they tried to address it. The DA has made a commitment to finding lasting solutions to the school sanitation problem facing Mpumalanga by taking this up at every level of government.

Every learner deserves access to a clean, functioning toilet. Together with our colleagues in the National Assembly we will bring this issue to the attention of Premier David Mabuza, the Ministers of Education and Sanitation and if need be, to the President.