Motshekga: Education Dept to prioritise school sanitation

Education Minister Angie Motshekga convened a high level meeting with education heads in Johannesburg on Thursday to come up with an urgent plan to eradicate unsafe toilets at schools.

Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga briefs the media with the Council of Education Ministers. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga says that her department will provide President Cyril Ramaphosa with a comprehensive audit of all schools without proper sanitation, along with detailed costs within three months.

The minister convened a high-level meeting with education heads in Johannesburg on Thursday to come up with an urgent plan to eradicate unsafe toilets at schools.

The recent death of five-year-old Lumka Mkhethwa who drowned in an Eastern Cape toilet prompted President Ramaphosa to intervene.

While a number of schools in the country still have inadequate sanitation, at least 37 schools in the Eastern Cape have no toilets at all.

Motshekga has committed to prioritising school sanitation as a matter of urgency.

“That we progressively and urgently eliminate pit latrines where they exist. Provinces will have to prioritise the provision of age-appropriate seats for grade R learners in all schools.”

Motshekga says that her department will work with Treasury and other government departments to cover the costs of the urgent project.

“And these are huge plans which we have to look at in the context of demands in sector.”

Education heads have described the sanitation problem at some schools in the country.