Progress made in replacing pit toilets in schools

The Department of Basic Education (DBE), together with provincial education departments, says great strides have been made in replacing pit latrines with appropriate sanitation facilities for schools in the country.

Through the Sanitation Appropriate for Education (SAFE) Initiative, which was launched in August 2018 to accelerate the provision of sanitation facilities in the identified schools, the current scope of work is 2 753 schools.

“The original number of schools which was reported by the provincial departments of education as schools dependent on basic pit toilets was 3 898. There were several changes to the list since the start of the programme, mostly due to rationalisation of schools and site assessments that confirmed appropriate sanitation,” the department said.

The current scope of work implemented includes:

• A total of 989 schools are addressed under other programmes:

– 130 of the schools are covered through donations and partnerships, of which 69 projects have already progressed to practical completion

– 66 of the schools are covered under the Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Delivery Initiative (ASIDI) programme, all of which have already progressed to practical completion

– 793 of the schools are covered under the Provincial Education, Infrastructure Grant (EIG) programme of which 384 projects have already progressed to practical completion

• A total of 1 026 schools have been allocated to implementing agents:

– 392 of the schools were allocated to the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), of which 189 projects have already progressed to practical completion

– 659 schools were allocated to the National Education Collaboration Trust (NECT), of which 12 projects have already progressed to practical completion

– 632 schools were allocated to The Mvula Trust (TMT), of which 183 projects have already progressed to practical completion

– 81 of the schools were recently allocated to the Coega Development Corporation

The provincial distribution of these projects are as follows:

• Eastern Cape: A total of 1 098 schools, of which 178 projects have already progressed to practical completion;

• Free State: A total of 122 schools, of which 75 projects have already progressed to practical completion;

• KwaZulu Natal: A total of 974 schools, of which 379 projects have already progressed to practical completion;

• Limpopo: A total of 387 schools, of which 118 projects have already progressed to practical completion;

• Mpumalanga: A total of 117 schools, of which 116 projects have already progressed to practical completion; and

• North West: A total of 55 schools, of which 37 projects have already progressed to practical completion.

Basic Education Director-General, Mathanzima Mweli, said the department has since stepped up the monitoring of the projects to ensure they are completed on time, to specifications and on budget.

Mweli has visited more than 500 construction sites since March 2021 to accelerate the delivery of the much-needed infrastructure.

The monitoring function has assisted the department in unblocking challenges and resolving issues that delayed the building process.

“The SAFE Initiative is a flagship programme and I have resolved that I will carry out the monitoring function until the last school has a proper toilet. The monitoring has pushed our performance up and we are sure to hit our target even before the end of the current financial year,” Mweli said.

The Director-General also holds weekly update meetings with the chief executive officers of the implementing agents.

Mweli said the department reports regularly to the Presidency on the work done to replace pit toilets with proper facilities, and will continue to do so until the pit latrines have been eradicated in all the schools.

“We have improved the standard of reporting and the progress is satisfactory. Underperforming implementing agents have been warned that there will be consequences for poor delivery,” the Director-General said.

Source: South African Government News Agency

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