Treasury intervention needed to eradicate pit toilets, says Motshekga

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga says that her department’s budget alone will not be able to fund the project.

FILE: Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga says an intervention from Treasury will be required to urgently eradicate pit latrines and provide adequate sanitation at schools without any toilets in the country.

Motshekga convened a meeting with education heads in Johannesburg on Thursday as directed by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The meeting was aimed at coming up with an urgent plan to rid schools of pit toilets within three months in the wake of the recent death of five-year-old Lumka Mkhethwa at an Eastern Cape school.

WATCH: Dept of Education to reprioritise school sanitation

At least 37 schools in that province have no toilets at all.

While the Education Department had given itself until 2025 to eradicate unsafe toilets at all schools in the country, it's now implementing a plan to fast-track the process.

Motshekga says that her department’s budget alone will not be able to fund the project.

“In order to give effect to these resolutions, the budget reallocations and reprioritisation, as well as the review of asset allocations and interventions from Treasury will be required.”

While the Eastern Cape has the most schools with pit toilets in the country, Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi says Gauteng has three.

“We’re about to close them. The only problem is that they’re used as a back up.”

Education officials have also been instructed to prioritise the provision of age appropriate toilets seats for young pupils.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)