Equal Education says lack of water at Goza Primary is unlawful

Earlier on Monday, Eyewitness News reported on how the school has been fighting for six years to get the provincial Department of Education to address the problem.

Goza Primary School in Soweto has been fighting for six years for access to safe drinking water on its premises, despite several promises by the Gauteng Department of Education to resolve the crisis. Picture: Abigail Javier/Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - Equal Education on Monday said it was unacceptable and unlawful that Goza Primary School in Soweto still didn’t have access to proper drinking water, years after promises were made.

Earlier on Monday, Eyewitness News reported on how the school has been fighting for six years to get the provincial Department of Education to address the problem.

READ: Thirsting for excellence: Soweto school struggling to access water for 6 years

But MEC Panyaza Lesufi’s office said it had not neglected the school, which caters for 1,400 pupils and staff, and blamed the delays on the national Department of Public Works and the previous City of Joburg administration.

After the non-profit organisation led a hard-fought campaign, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga published regulations relating to norms and standards for public school infrastructure in November 2013.

GALLERY: Promises unfulfilled: Soweto school struggles to access water for six years

They clearly stipulate that it is law that every school must have water, electricity, working toilets and safe classrooms among other requirements.

Schools around the country should have been provided with this infrastructure by the end of November last year.

Goza Primary School has been waiting for 6 years for the provision of clean, drinking water.

Because of the constant low pressure from taps - or nothing coming out at all, pupils are often sent home early due to the water shortage.

Equal Education’s deputy general secretary Tracey Malawana said: “There is water in that area. The issue is that the department needs to make time to go and address it, they can’t keep on saying ‘we’ll address it and we’ll meet with you’. They know what the issue is, they just need to attend to it.”

WATCH: Six years with no proper access to water – A Soweto school struggles for basic services

Malawana said what was happening was unlawful.

“There is lack of urgency, especially in a moment like this where there is COVID-19 on top of hygiene issues and all these things we’d normally speak about.”

Equal education will now be communicating with their law centre to follow up on the revelations.

Lesufi’s office said because Goza primary was built on the same land as another school, it had been struggling to get the property rezoned, which was out of his department’s mandate.

Spokesperson Steve Mabona said until that part was sorted by the national government, they couldn’t say when the school would be connected to a municipal water point.

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