By Dr. Tutu Faleni (MPL), DA North West Spokesperson, Education:
The Democratic Alliance welcomes the intentions of the South African Human Rights Commission to investigate the living conditions of pupils at the North West Secondary School for the Deaf in Leeudoringstad, following the death of three girls in a fire last month.
The Democratic Alliance is of the view that the outcome of the investigation by the Human Rights Commission will ensure that no school hostel experiences what has happened in Christiana where three blind learners died in a fire in 2010, the inferno in Leeudoringstad two weeks ago and the fire at Hoer Volkskool Potchefstroom on Monday, 31 August 2015.
The Democratic Alliance trusts that the investigation by the Human Rights Commission will, among other things, determine whether school hostel facilities, structural aspects of school hostel buildings and any other related issues conform to high level safety standards and whether these standards are implemented effectively and are suitable to achieve the schools’ safety policies.
The Democratic Alliance is also of the view that the planned investigation by the Human Rights Commission will ensure that each school with hostels will be provided with the necessary support to develop safety procedures that will be customised to respond to the unique safety challenges of each school. This should be applicable, especially, to special schools such as the North West Secondary School for the Deaf in Leeudoringstad.
The Democratic Alliance will make a separate submission to the Human Rights Commission based on the information it collected after the fire ripped through the girls’ hostel in Leeudoringstad. Children with special needs right to a safe environment should be protected at all times, according to set and certain safety standards.