By: Jane Sithole MPL, DA Mpumalanga Spokesperson on Education
The Democratic Alliance (DA) has written to Education MEC, Sibusiso Malaza asking him to urgently intervene at Sekwai Secondary school in Moremela, Thaba Chweu, and schools across the province to address the school’s dilapidated sanitation facilities.
During a recent oversight inspection at the school, the DA was shocked to find that the school’s 363 learners shared toilets that not only had no doors or running water, but were also collapsing.
The Department of Education currently has no budget for any infrastructure upgrades at Sekwai for the next three financial years, meaning that these learners will still be educated in unsafe structures and use crumbling pit toilets for a long time to come.
Teachers and learners at the school fear that one day the toilets will collapse and injure one of the learners but until the Department of Education commits itself to building safe toilets at the school, all the learners and teachers will remain forced to live in fear.
Many of the other schools inspected by the DA also had unsafe pit toilets while learners at Pilgrims Rest Primary school were still being educated in asbestos structures.
During his 2016 State of the Province address, former Premier, David Mabuza promised that all schools would have adequate sanitation facilities by the end of that year, yet today, Sekwai Secondary is still one of many schools where learners are forced to use inadequate facilities.
The DA will continue to advocate for safe and hygienic learning and teaching environments , with a particular focus on school sanitation as no learner should have to compromise their safety and get stripped off their dignity, simply by going to school.
Only a DA-led government can bring the kind of change that places the safety and dignity of learners and teachers first.
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