FS Education gets budget for pit toilets

At least 156 schools will have their pit toilets eradicated by the Free State Provincial Government by the end of this financial year.

According to the MEC for Treasury, Gadija Brown, the provincial Education Department has been allocated a budget of R78 million to eradicate pit latrines at schools across the province.

Brown says the eradication of pit toilets at schools is among her department’s key infrastructure investments. Tabling the province’s mid-term budget, she alluded that although this amount is not sufficient, they are anticipating to make a significant difference at schools.

Brown said a further R10 million budget re-allocation will be redirected to this department to alleviate budget pressures on the Learner Transport programme.

The department’s budget allocation towards the eradication of school’s pit toilets comes months after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that lack of infrastructure maintenance and inadequate water and sanitation at schools in the Free State are among some of the issues that will need to be attended to before the end of the year.

Addressing learners at the Charles Mopeli Stadium in Qwaqwa back in April, Ramaphosa announced that according to the audit outcome of school sanitation facilities by the Basic Department of Education, there were more than 50 schools with pit latrines in Qwaqwa alone.

He said schools with unacceptable sanitation were still mainly found in the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, the Free State, and the North West and that each province will have to see to it that they attend to these sanitation challenges.

According to the non-financial census of municipalities report released by Stats SA in August, the highest number of people still subjected to using municipal bucket toilets in South Africa are found in the Free State.

The report indicates that out of the 42 612 units that still exist in the country, 47% are found in the Free State with the Setsoto, Nala and Ngwathe Local Municipalities recording the highest numbers.