Another school shutdown due to sewage overflow
by Safiyia Stanfley – DA Provincial Spokesperson on Education in the Northern Cape
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Date: 12 August 2018
The Democratic Alliance in the Northern Cape will write to the MEC for Education, Martha Bartlett, to urge for urgent intervention at the latest school in the province shut down by sewage overflows.
It is clearly time for the department to begin taking a more proactive approach to the many sanitation crises facing schools in the province rather than simply being reactive and only responding once learners are being sent home.
This request follows my oversight inspection to the Barkley West Primary School in De Beershoogte, Barkley West on Friday together with local councillor, Daisy Hendricks.
The school was closed by the Department of Labour last week, following the collapse of the municipal sewerage system. The main pump located near the school broke down, resulting in a backflow of sewage onto the school’s premises. Trenches have since been dug outside the yard to drain the water and have been filled with sand and treated with HTH.
This is, however, only a temporary solution. It is likely that the municipal pumps will break down again, as the municipal infrastructure is in an abysmal state, and will lead to a re-occurrence of the sewage floods. We cannot keep on applying the same temporary solutions and expect them to work on a permanent basis. See photos here, here and here.
It is unacceptable that learners, educators and support staff are continuously exposed to such seriously unhygienic, hazardous conditions.
While assurances were given that the school would re-open on Monday 6 August, this has not yet happened. At this point, it seems that the school will reopen on Monday 13 August. It is still unclear how learners will catch up the lost time. Because it is a short term, there is already a lot of pressure on learners and educators to complete a fair amount of work in the third term. We cannot afford to have learners’ education derailed because of sanitation problems which can be avoided.
It is clear that the department has to be more actively involved with municipalities to ensure that such problems can be addressed permanently. This change in mindset, where the creation of an environment conducive to learning and teaching is prioritised, will only come with a change in government under a DA-led administration.
DA Provincial Spokesperson on Education in the Northern Cape
084 919 4157
071 251 5558