SAHRC demands answers over water and sanitation in schools

2021-Oct-01   07:39

SAHRC demands answers over water and sanitation in schools
The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has ordered Education MECs in six provinces to provide it with detailed action plans to get rid of water and sanitation deficiencies in schools.
Source: SAHRC

- Thabang Morutloa

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has ordered Education MECs in six provinces to provide it with detailed action plans to get rid of water and sanitation deficiencies in schools.

This after the Commission received reports of sources of water from education departments in the North West, Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal, the Free State, the Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga.

“The letters putting the MECs on terms are based on reports received from the relevant Provincial Education Departments (PDEs) in response to requests by the Commission on the source of water and type of sanitation at all schools in the province," said Commissioner responsible for education, Andre Gaum.

The responses from provinces indicate that:

• 983 schools in KwaZulu-Natal are reliant on pit latrines;

• 9 schools are without water; 44 schools have no form of sanitation and 19 schools use pit latrines in the North West Province;

• 113 schools are without water in Limpopo;

• 59 schools are using pit latrines in Mpumalanga;

• 199 schools are without water; and 2 236 schools are using pit latrines in the Eastern Cape Province; and

• 10 schools are without water; and 5 schools do not have any form of sanitation in the Free State Province.

"The Commission has written to the MEC’s requiring that these provinces provide the Commission with inter alia detailed action plans with strict timeframes and tangible measures to overcome the health and physical risks to which learners, educators and administrators are exposed.

“The action plans need to include the covering up and securing of pit latrines, which pose a safety risk to learners. The Commission has also informed the MECs that it will monitor the responses attentively and take the necessary action, including litigation, if necessary, in the best interests of the child; and to protect the right to basic education. The Commission is committed to working with the National Department of Basic Education as well as provincial departments of education to ensure that the right to basic education is immediately realised,” he said.

North West Education spokesperson, Elias Malindi, confirmed that the MEC has received a letter from the Human Rights Commission.

“The department is aware of the letter from SAHRC and it is busy preparing a report to respond to the raised questions,” Malindi said.

MECs of respective provinces have until the 29th of November to respond to the Commission.

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