The SGB chairperson at Tshapasha Primary School, Khathutshelo Radzilani (standing on the left with placard), Hendrick Nemutavhanani, Nelson Netshilonwe, Tendani Mbulawa, Lindelani Shotheli, and seated, Thinawanga Netshivhungululu and Dora Ndou, photographed at the school’s gate. Photo: Silas Nduvheni.
No toilets, no school. This is the stand parents and members of Tshapasha Primary’s school-governing body (SGB) are taking to get the Department of Education to provide safer toilet facilities for the learners. Learning and teaching at this rural school at Tshapasha, near Dzimauli in the Mutale area, has been disrupted since last Wednesday (20 July), when parents and members of the SGB started to put their foot down regarding the unsafe condition of the old and dilapidated mobile and pit toilets that the learners are expected to use.
According to the chairperson of Tshapasha Primary School’s SGB, Mr Khathutshelo Radzilani, the parents and members of the SBG have tried without success to get the department to improve their situation, and now they have decided to close the school until the children have safe toilets to use.
“We have written many letters to the circuit manager in Mutale, informing him about the danger of leaners using old and dilapidated toilets. In August 2012, a girl fell into one of the toilets and got seriously injured. We informed the local circuit office, but they did nothing about it.”
Radzilani said that the newly elected SGB, in conjunction with the school’s parents, again engaged with the provincial department of education, starting at circuit level, but still nothing happened to make the conditions safer for learners.
“What bothers us is that the teachers have modern toilets, while the learners are still using those dilapidated toilets. Some of the leaners are forced to relieve themselves in the bushes, which might be dangerous as they can be attacked by snakes. It also contributes to the disruption of lessons,” added Radzilani.
When Limpopo Mirror visited the school on Tuesday (26th), the gates were closed, with parents and SGB members holding placards that read “No toilets, No School”. They are hoping that the MEC for the Department of Education will intervene urgently.
Ms Tendani Mbulawa, one of the parents, said she was concerned about the fact that the children were not attending school, but they could do nothing about the situation because they were also worried about the safety of their children at the school.
Meanwhile, a letter dated 25 July 2022 and signed by the head of the Department of Education, Ms Onica Dederen, states that, with regard to water and sanitation infrastructure, Tshapasha Primary School forms part of 205 schools to be allocated to the Mvula Trust. The construction (of new toilets) is expected to start in the third quarter of this financial year.
Date:28 July 2022 - By: Silas Nduvheni