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pro­vi­sion of san­i­ta­tion, wa­ter and elec­tric­ity to other schools with­out these ser­vices.

Dur­ing his re­lease of na­tional and pro­vin­cial au­dit re­sults last week, Au­di­tor-Gen­eral Kimi Mak­wetu said the depart­ment spent 93% of its R12.6 bil­lion bud­get in 2016/17 on school in­fra­struc­ture, but only 16 out of the tar­geted 59 schools that are part of the Ac­cel­er­ated Schools In­fra­struc­ture De­liv­ery Ini­tia­tive were built. The project was also only able to build toi­lets at 30 out of 265 schools, and only 29 out of 280 re­ceived wa­ter.

Sec­tion 27 at­tor­ney Bhavna Ramji says that, while data from the Coun­cil for Sci­en­tific and In­dus­trial Re­search “shows some­what er­ratic im­prove­ments” on san­i­ta­tion in schools coun­try­wide, there are two main prob­lems.

“One, we know there is a huge back­log in de­liv­ery of ac­cept­able toi­lets and there is sim­ply no com­pre­hen­sive plan to ad­dress these back­logs, only an ad hoc ap­proach, which is com­pletely in­ad­e­quate for a prob­lem of this scale – it means that the var­i­ous pro­vin­cial de­part­ments will only fix toi­lets if and when they hap­pen to be­come aware of them.”

She says the sec­ond prob­lem is that, once san­i­ta­tion is de­liv­ered, there are no main­te­nance plans in place to keep toi­lets in safe and us­able con­di­tions.

“You there­fore see toi­lets quickly be­com­ing de­crepit and need­ing to be re­placed. In most cases, schools are not funded ad­e­quately to main­tain san­i­ta­tion fa­cil­i­ties, so this needs to be­come part of na­tional and pro­vin­cial plan­ning.”

Mankone says the con­clu­sion of the case will help the fam­ily move to­wards clo­sure. “They should wipe away our tears. They brought about these tears.”

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