Cheap talk but no action over dilapidated pit latrine toilet in Dipakapakeng School


It’s almost a decade since Dipakapakeng primary school reported the unresolved bad state of pit latrine toilet to the Education department in the province but till today the learners are still using the dilapidated toilet.

The school is located in the Motetema circuit in ward 28 under Elias Motsoaledi local municipality in Tafelkop village.

Concerned parents took the matter to the provincial legislature in Lebowakgomo hoping to get urgent intervention but nothing has happened till to date.

Disturbed guardian said they are worried because many reports of children dying in school toilets have made horrifying headlines in recent years.

According to long serving, School Governing Body (SGB), Betty Makua both current and former circuit manager fail to help the school to get proper toilets.

Betty Makua who also plant vegetables at school said during rainy season, pit latrine changed shape and attempted to collapse.

A grandmother of two grade one learners said other parents are threatening to shut down the school if the issue remain unresolved.

“At school we only have pit latrine built by the community,” Betty explained.

She explained the trip they took to report the pit latrine at the legislature she said: “On February 2020, five parents took to the legislature to report the matter to the officials. On our arrival we briefed the disturbed matter showing photos of pit latrine to the Member of Parliament (MP) who were told that she serves in the sanitation portfolio,”

“The MP then checked the system and confirmed that our school was on the list but no one seems to know the reason why the school was jumped. Afterwards the MP went to the school to inspect the state of the toilets,” she said.

Betty said she accompanies every learner to the toilet for safety reasons and to ensure that nothing bad happens.

“We are unhappy about the school reopening because our children have to face the pit latrine at school again. However the decision took by minister is above everybody,” depressed mother said.

Another parent echoed similar matter of unsafe building which might collapse any time soon if somebody can assume.

“I wonder why this school is still operating under this poor infrastructure. Maybe now the children must share the toilet with teachers because neighbours can’t take it anymore,” explained parent.

In 2014, the late Michael Komape droned when the pit toilet at Mahlodumela primary school in seshego, when he was using it.

In 2018 Section 27 conducted a survey of 86 schools in Limpopo and found out that 41 schools had unlawful pit latrines.

Section 27 lawyer, Samantha Brener, said pit latrines are unlawful in terms of the norms and standard for school infrastructure. Samantha explained that in some cases ventilated improved pit toilets are allowed

Global citizens, an organisation working to end poverty, claimed hundreds of children had drowned in pit latrines over the past few years.

Two years back, a national government audit of schools found that at 3.898 schools the only toilets available were pit latrines and another 3,040 had proper sanitation but pit toilets were still on the premises

Dipakapakeng has enrolled 47 learners in grade 7, received at least 12 sanitisers and they cleaned two classes for school reopening

Attempt to get comment from department was unsuccessful.

Thapelo Motseo

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