/ 19 March 2018

Motshekga calls urgent meeting to discuss poor infrastructure

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga says the policy of  ‘progressing’ learners works.
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga says the policy of  ‘progressing’ learners works.

Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga has convened an urgent meeting to plot the eradication of unsafe toilets and discuss the state of school infrastructure in general.

The announcement comes on the back of a report by the district education office in the Eastern Cape following the death of five-year-old Lumka Mkhethwa, who fell into a pit latrine last Thursday.

“The minister will convene an urgent meeting with MECs and their HoD’s to discuss school infrastructure,” the department said in a statement. “And find ways of accelerating the eradication of unsafe ablution facilities in particular, but addressing school infrastructure holistically in-line with a directive from President Cyril Ramaphosa.”

“Once more the Minister is deeply saddened and regrets the tragic loss of such a precious life in such horrendous circumstances.”

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday gave Motshekga one-month to provide an audit on all unsafe facilities within schools, with a particular eye on hazardous ablution facilities. The minister must present him with emergency measures that should be taken while permanent infrastructure is developed and rolled out.

In February, during his State of the Nation address, Ramaphosa committed to work in consultation with civil society to eradicate unsafe school ablution facilities.

Last year, the issue of dangerous school facilities was placed firmly under the national spotlight when Michael Komape’s family’s civil lawsuit was heard in the high court in Limpopo. The five-year-old drowned in faeces in 2014 after he fell into a pit latrine in Mahlodumela Primary School, near Polokwane.