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Motshekga: Pit toilet child death undignified & completely unacceptable

Five-year-old Viwe Jali fell into the toilet at the Luna Primary School in Bizana on Tuesday.

Education Minister Angie Motshekga is briefing the media on developments in the education sector. Picture: Hitekani Magwedze/EWN

CAPE TOWN – Amid criticism following a learner's drowning in a pit toilet, the Basic Education Department has revealed the Eastern Cape has already exhausted its maintenance budget.

Five-year-old Viwe Jali fell into the toilet at the at the Luna Primary School in Bizana on Tuesday.

The incident happened while a delegation of the National Council of Provinces is in the Eastern Cape to follow up on a 2016 visit and recommendations to improve conditions at schools in that province.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga says her department is addressing poor conditions at schools and is prioritising unsafe structures and those without decent sanitation, electricity and water.

Motshekga has described Jali's death as undignified and completely unacceptable.

She says it breaks her heart knowing that sector officials have failed to address infrastructure issues fast enough.

Ministerial spokesperson Troy Martens says: “A case has been opened with the police. The minister really has expressed extreme sadness around this incident.”

Martens says counselling is being provided to pupils at the primary school where the little girl died.

The tragedy is the subject of a civil case against the Basic Education Department and the Limpopo Education Department.

Motshekga says currently, over 5,000 school maintenance projects are underway across the country, but adds the Eastern Cape's maintenance budget is already depleted.Martens says counselling is being provided to pupils
at the primary school where the little girl died.

Several years ago, five-year-old Michael Komape died after falling into a pit latrine at a Limpopo school.

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