South Africa: Eastern Cape Education Department Fails Dismally After School Fire


A shocking chronology of ineptitude, false promises and lies about the Department of Education's failure to address the constitutional rights of children to have safe schools and decent bathrooms, unfolded in papers before the Eastern Cape High Court.

For six years, learners at Nombulelo Secondary School in Makhanda had to either relieve themselves on the school stairwell or risk using a bathroom with serious and dangerous fire damage. On Tuesday 12 November, as the school's governing body (SGB) finally turned to the courts for help, the Department of Education agreed to an order declaring its failure to assist as unconstitutional and compelling it to fix the bathroom within six months.

The Legal Resources Centre (LRC) finally assisted the governing body to approach a judge in the Eastern Cape High Court about the matter.

"We believed their promises every time," the SGB chairperson, Likhaya Msutwana, said in papers before court explaining why they took so long to get to court.

He added that they were also bringing the application in the public interest as the department's failure to address school sanitation, in general, had an impact on the safety, dignity and health of every learner in the province.

The application for...

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