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.”