Youth advocacy group, Equal Education, says the Department of Basic Education has lost all political will to eradicate pit toilets at public schools.
The organisation’s Tiny Lebelo spoke to YNews where several organisations affiliated with the National Youth Coalition gathered in Soweto this afternoon.
“There are kids as young as four years old dying in pit latrines. That is really not safe, they are not providing them with a conducive learning environment,” said Lebelo.
She says South African children are in desperate need of flushing toilets, which reinforce their human dignity.
In South Africa, more than 3 000 public schools still have pit toilets.
Over the previous years, there have been many reports of learners falling into pit toilets resulting in death.
The most notable of these cases was that of 5-year-old Michael Komane who lost his life when a school toilet collapsed and he fell in on the 20th of January in 2014.
Government had previously promised to provide all public schools with flushing toilets by 2020. The deadline was then pushed to next month and has now been moved to 2025.
The National Youth Coalition also called on decision-makers and policy-drafters to consult young people, as equals, on the issues that most affect them.
The coalition’s Irfaan Mangera also urged the youth to make their voices heard.
This as over 2 000 young people prepare to take to the streets of the nation’s capital on Youth Day, demanding an end to rolling blackouts, high unemployment and a sub-standard education system.
Mangera has encouraged today’s youth to take lessons from the struggle of the Youth of 76.
“When we speak about the Youth of 1976, we must not fall into the trap of simply idolising them without taking the lesson that they’ve given us. We have to be active and forthright in taking and challenging power, ” Mangera told YNews.
Written by: Naomi Kobbie