EE demands better sanitation in schools

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Activist group Equal Education marched to the office of Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi (pictured), in Johannesburg, to demand better sanitation facilities in schools.

JOHANNESBURG - Activist group Equal Education (EE) on Saturday, marched to the office of Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi, in Johannesburg, to demand better sanitation facilities in schools.

Lesufi&39;s office said in a statement that he accepted the memorandum from EE and gave an update on work towards fixing school toilets over the last three months.

"I want to assure you and everyone present here that I am on your side," he said.

"My presence here, demonstrates, one point and that is, we can differ in strategy but let&39;s not forget the objective to fix all our schools."

EE said in a statement on its website that the memorandum contained demands that all prefabricated toilets in Tembisa, on the East Rand, be opened and that the department release a plan for permanently addressing the schools sanitation problem.

"Despite MEC Lesufi&39;s promise to unblock and open all toilets in Gauteng by 31 August 2014 -- the end of his first 100 days in tenure -- during the first week of September, EE members counted 200 blocked or closed toilets in Tembisa."

Lesufi said that R115-million had been set aside to fix toilets in the province and that 400 toilets had been fixed thus far.

"For me, sanitation is dignity. I have sent a strong message to my officials that deadlines are not negotiable," he said.

The department developed guidelines to help schools manage and maintain toilets more effectively.

On its website, EE acknowledges student vandalism as one of the causes of problems with school sanitation and commits to addressing it.

- Sapa