On Monday, 24 December 2018, the South African Broadcasting Corporation spoke to Tracey Malawana, who is the Deputy General Secretary of education lobby group, Equal Education.
Pit latrines have been a constant danger at South African rural schools, especially in the Eastern Cape.
Numerous injuries and deaths have occurred due to young children making use of these pit latrines. This year, the government claimed it was taking urgent action to address the issue.
In August 2018, President Cyril Ramaphosa launched a new initiative called Sanitation Appropriate for Education (SAFE) which was set to speed up the eradication of latrines and provide safe sanitation.
Malawana, however, says that the progress has been slow and that not enough is being done to address the issue, charging that the lives and dignities of school students remain at stake.
“They need to speed up the process. We need to speed up the process. We have a law that’s called minimum norms and standards for schooling for structure. It outlines what a minimum standards for schools toilets so I think it’ very important for the Department of Basic Education, along with its provincial departments to make sure that they prioritise providing safe and dignified toilets in rural schools.”
Watch the video below for the full interview.