Parliament shocked, disappointed by EC pit toilet death

Viwe Jali, a learner at Luna Primary in Mbizana, was found in the toilet on Tuesday after going missing for a day.

"As the Development Bank of Southern Africa, with the R3.5 billion you could’ve eradicated pit toilets..." - Bruce Whitfield  [Picture: Cindy Archillies/EWN]

CAPE TOWN - Parliament has expressed shock and disappointment at the death of a 5-year-old girl who drowned in a pit toilet at an Eastern Cape school.

Viwe Jali, a learner at Luna Primary in Mbizana, was found in the toilet on Tuesday after going missing for a day.

The National Council of Provinces (NCOP) will now take the matter back to Parliament and get the Basic Education Department to account on the eradication of pit toilets, still prevalent in certain parts of the country.

Parliament says it was shocked to find no improvements in conditions at the Luna Primary, two years after first visiting the Mbizana school.

The NCOP visited the area in 2016 as part of the 'taking Parliament to the people' programme and this week a delegation was disappointed to find it in the same sad state.

Parliament's spokesperson Moloto Mothapo says a lack of proper toilets was one of the issues flagged by members of Parliament during the previous visit.

“The delegation now went back two years later to report back and to hear the report on the work that has been done since those commitments were made, including this dangerous pit toilet at school. They were shocked to find that not much work has been done.”

The Human Rights Commission has also added its voice to the outcry, saying it is appalled by the incident.

The commission has now requested an urgent meeting with Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga to discuss the state of school infrastructure.