11 June 2019

South Africa: Filthy Pit Latrines and No Water At Pietermaritzburg Primary School

Photo: Nompendulo Ngubane/GroundUp
A pit latrine at a primary school in Khokhwane, Pietermaritzburg.

"Our children don't deserve such conditions," says parent.

Pit latrines at Khokhwane Primary School in Pietermaritzburg are filthy, say parents. Four of them are full, and the children have no water to wash their hands in.

"My fear is that I will receive a message that my child has drowned inside the toilet," said a parent who did not wish to be named. Her child is in grade 3.

"Our children don't deserve such conditions," she said.

Parents says they have raised their fears and concerns with the school.

The principal of the school, Mr Nzimande, refused to comment. He referred GroundUp to the Department of Education.

But a teacher, who did not wish to be named for fear of victimisation, said, "It is worrying because we fear that a child might drown."

Sboniso Zulu, whose nephew goes to the school, said, "After using the toilets they can't wash their hands. The whole of this year there has been no water. Water is a problem in the whole location but there should be an intervention for the school."

Zulu said children carried water with them in containers.

"We managed to see the toilets ourselves. I was shocked by what I saw. I advised my nephew not to use the toilets anymore. The conditions are calling for an intervention from the Department of Education. In this day and age no learner deserves such bad exposure," said Zulu.

Parents also said there had been robberies at the school and they worried for the safety of the children because of poor security.

"There is no security guard ... The school has been broken into ... No one is there to monitor who comes in and out. That is worrying," said Zulu.

KZN Department of Education spokesperson Muzi Mahlambi said the department has a programme of eradicating 1,334 pit toilets. He said Khokhwane is on the list for this financial year 2019/20."

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