SAHRC to take legal action against 5 provinces over school pit toilets

The five provincial departments of education in question are Mpumalanga, North West, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.

FILE: A pit toilet at a Limpopo school. Picture: Tara Penny/Eyewitness News

CAPE TOWN - The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) plans to proceed to litigate against five provinces that still have schools that use pit latrines.

The commission has discussed the lack of sanitation at schools in many regions across the country during its final monthly media briefing for the year 2021.

The litigation will have as its objective the enforcement of the Minimum Uniform Norms and Standards for Public School Infrastructure gazetted by the Minister of Basic Education in November 2013.

These regulations require the eradication of pit latrines at schools.

The five provincial departments of education in question are Mpumalanga, North West, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.

The commission's deputy chairperson Fatima Chohan said that this would be the largest case brought against government since the establishment of the human rights commission.

“The commission believes that the time has come for this level of action to ensure schools are places of safety for all children in South Africa,” Chohan said.

She said that the dire threat faced by children, daily, called for urgent and decisive action.