Safe toilets bring hope, dignity to learners

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga will today hand over 42 toilets to the Ubuhle-Bemvelo Primary School, in Mtubatuba, KwaZulu-Natal.

The hand over of toilets forms part of a successful public-private partnership between the department and Amalooloo to address sanitation in schools in line with the Sanitation Appropriate for Education (SAFE) initiative.

Launched on 14 August 2018 by President Cyril Ramaphosa, the SAFE initiative aims to address school sanitation challenges faced by some of the country’s poorest schools by leveraging on public-private partnerships.

Amalooloo is one of the companies that pledged support and built the 42 toilets at Ubuhle-Bemvelo Primary.

The school, which has 1090 learners, received a donation of 18 toilets for the boys, 18 for the girls and 6 for the Grade Rs.

“The company demolished and provided a temporary solution at the school during the construction of the newly erected toilets.

“The construction is now complete and the toilets are ready for use,” said the department.

According to the DBE, since the launch of the SAFE initiative, 787 schools have been provided with safe, age- and grade-appropriate sanitation facilities. A further 841 schools are in the pipeline and are either in planning, design or construction stages.

“It is important to remember that the eradication of pit-latrines did not start with the launch of the SAFE initiative. The department has since 2000, provided 10 621 schools with upgraded ablution facilities,” said the department.

At the time of the launch of the SAFE initiative, there were 3 898 schools that required appropriate sanitation interventions.

“However, many of these have specific requirements; for example no water-born sewage systems and thereby, require alternative sanitation technology. We are working with other departments to find the best sustainable solutions for these schools,” said the DBE.

To date, the private sector has pledged R256 million, towards the SAFE initiative.

Additionally, National Treasury has allocated a total of R3.4 billion to the initiative over the 2019 MTEF.

“We have identified clear timeframes and delivery models to ensure that while we are delivering sanitation infrastructure, this will also benefit local small businesses,” said the department.

The department said it strongly believes that within the next three years, it would have eradicated the remaining 3 898 pit-latrines in schools.

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