Limpopo school toilet problem continues

The Limpopo Education Department is at odds with Section 27 on the state of school toilets.

Toilet at Valdezia Primary School in the Makhado district , Limpopo on 9 January 2013. Picture: Tara Meaney/EWN

LIMPOPO - The Limpopo Education Department on Thursday said it was well aware of the shocking state of sanitation at rural schools in the province.

The department says it is actively working to provide toilets to tens of thousands of pupils.

Rights group Section 27 raised the issue of sanitation with the department more than six months ago.

But at the start of the 2013 academic year, nothing had been done to provide adequate toilets to more than 100 schools.

Pupils have to make do with little or no working toilets, a lack of water and virtually no privacy.

Department spokesperson Pat Kgomo says government is determined to resolve the issue.

"We are focused and very much determined to assist schools as much as possible and prioritise the ablution facilities as much as possible."

However, community organiser for Section 27, Solange Mlambo, says officials have not intervened because they are not affected.

Mlambo says department officials only visited schools where the toilets are clean.

He also said there was nothing was being done to resolve the matter.

"They (school officials) were told not to talk to us (Section 27)."

The situation is hopeless, according to Mlambo.

Teachers also said they were running out of patience, with threats of mass action from the South African Democratic Teachers' Union.

Sadtu's provincial secretary Matome Raphasha said, "It's not only 111 schools. Many of our schools do not have the necessary infrastructure, but we've got our own ways of making sure we push the government."