South Africa: Government Dealing With School Sanitation

Photo: GCIS
Finance Minister Tito Mboweni...

Government is attending to the sanitation issues faced by schools around the country, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni said on Wednesday.

"The largest allocations in the medium-term are for education, health, social development and community development," said Mboweni as he tabled his maiden Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) in Parliament.

These four areas will receive over 60% of non-interest expenditure.

Mboweni said no child should learn in a school that is unsafe.

"Our children must have access to adequate sanitation. We have committed to eradicating pit latrines at schools. The President [Cyril Ramaphosa] has directed that there be a plan to ensure all schools have safe and appropriate sanitation," said the Minister.

Mboweni said government will ensure that female learners have access to sanitary pads, with several provinces already having rolled out the provision of free pads in schools.

"Funds will be added to the provincial equitable share to enable provinces to progressively further this objective.

Turning his attention to municipal social infrastructure improvement, Mboweni said all South Africans share the pain of poorly performing municipalities, which results in bad roads and unmaintained infrastructure, among others.

He said government is "acutely" aware that some municipalities are facing capacity constraints.

"Municipalities owe more than R23 billion to service providers, mainly Eskom, and water service agencies," Mboweni said, adding that this was a reflection of weaknesses in governance, fraud and outright corruption.

"The funds lost by municipalities in the collapse of VBS Mutual Bank offer a dramatic illustration of how greed and corruption impacts the achievement of developmental objectives," he said of the current storm engulfing the mutual bank, which has been placed under curatorship.

The Minister also spoke of the cases where contracts are awarded corruptly and construction costs are inflated.

"We must repair our towns and our streets, and fix the pipes under our roads," he said.

Mboweni, however, noted that government is developing measures to improve transparency and governance processes.

Key to this, he said, is the employment of qualified, competent and incorruptible officials.

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