Former pupil builds pit toilets for school
Some 2 000 schools in the rural and township schools of the Eastern Cape, children relieve themselves in bushy shrubs or the floor of school toilets, while educators seek relief in nearby households owing to inadequate sanitation infrastructure.
Although R3.7 million has been set aside to fix the problem, the government is lagging behind in ensuring that no child falls into the germ-infested pit toilets.
Recently, a six-year old boy escaped with bruises after he fell into an old toilet at Lutholi Junior school in Sibangweni village.
Madoda Tshokotshi of Moon and Earth recalls his shame when he visited his home in Tsholomnqa village and saw a toddler running to relieve himself in the bushes of his old primary school, Sandile, a few metres from his home.
“My heart broke at the lack of dignity and knowing the snakes we used to encounter as children in this yard. I received a letter from the principal seeking assistance in building new toilets for the Grade R class as the existing toilets were too big and the children could fall down into the holes. They also asked if we can build them a rugby field and a netball court. We decided to start with the more urgent matter of toilets, for dignity’s sake,” recalls Tshokotshi.
Last week the former Sandile primary school learner and teacher turned businessman donated four pit toilets built in just two months.
“It is my small gift to the community. I have built at least 75 pits toilets in schools around the province where children had fallen in owing to unstable structures. I undertook to emptying those that are full as municipal trucks drain water only and leave the sludge,” he narrated.
Education MEC Fundile Gade commended the donation and encouraged more businesses to assist villages in the speed-up of service delivery, especially in schools that have been put on a pedestal as the tool to change the fortunes of children. “Sanitation is a sensitive issue because it is a human rights matter, whether in schools or households. It is not a favor to have this service, government must commit and deliver. If another child falls into these rotten toilets, heads will have to roll,” commended Gade.
Secretary for the school’s Governing Body, Nontombi Daniso told of how they have been trying to build toilets for years, asking households to contribute R20, but the money was never enough to start the building process.