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ANC welcomes progress in addressing sanitation backlogs in schools

7 November 2018

The ANC Study Groups on Water and Sanitation and Basic Education welcome the report which outlines implementation plans to address sanitation backlogs in schools. A joint meeting of the Portfolio Committee of Water and Sanitation and the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education received presentations from the Department of Basic Education and the Water Research Commission in Parliament today, detailing how sanitation challenges are being addressed.

South African schools, especially those in townships and rural areas, have been facing sanitation challenges for many years. These include lack of proper sanitation, pit latrines, sanitation that is not fit for purpose/age appropriate and some with no sanitation at all. These challenges have resulted in instances of learners falling to death or falling sick due to poor hygiene.

"Government is mandated by the Constitution to ensure that it provides dignified sanitation to our citizens. We appreciate the efforts of the Department of Basic Education and its aim to have done away with indecent sanitation at schools by the end of the 2019/2020 financial year. According to the Audit results, schools in most provinces have better sanitation conditions, especially Gauteng, Northern Cape and Western Cape, where there are no schools with pit latrines," said comrade Nomalungelo Gina, Chairperson of the Basic Education Committee.

"We note with concern the slow progress in addressing these sanitation challenges in the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and Mpumalanga, where there are high numbers of schools with pit latrines only, unacceptable sanitation and toilets that do not cater to the needs of Grade R learners and learners with disabilities," she added.

"As the ANC, we are also very concerned about the costs incurred due to outsourcing service providers while the state has enough capacity to combat these challenges, yet we are deviated because of depending on the private sector to be service providers. We have the Department of Public Works as well as our Army, which have great capacity of competent staff who can ensure the delivery and maintenance of sanitation infrastructure. We have an obligation to take action against those who manipulate the system and benefit from outsourcing service providers," said comrade Derick Mnguni, ANC Whip for Water and Sanitation.

As ANC joint ANC Study Groups, we will continue our oversight role throughout to ensure that undignified sanitation is eradicated in all schools and the hygiene of learners is prioritized.

Joint statement issued by the Chairperson of the ANC Study Group on Basic Education, comrade Nomalungelo Gina and the Whip of the ANC Study Group on Water and Sanitation, Cde Derick Mnguni.

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