Major boost for drive to rid schools of pit toilets

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Makeshift toilets at a creche in Mathanga village in the Eastern Cape. (Gallo)

President Cyril Ramaphosa says 70% of all the proceeds raised from the annual Presidential Golf Challenge will be spent on a national campaign to eradicate pit latrines at schools.

The President made the announcement at the Presidential Golf Challenge gala dinner at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on February 9 (Friday).

“The Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation has decided that of the money that is being raised here today, 70% of it is going to go towards supporting a national campaign to ensure that we get rid of pit latrines,” he said.

In August last year, the President, together with Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga, launched the SAFE initiative, rallying leaders of business to pledge their support towards the eradication of pit latrines in schools. At the State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Thursday, Ramaphosa said nearly 4 000 schools still have inappropriate sanitation facilities.

Since the launch of SAFE, 699 schools have been provided with safe and appropriate sanitation facilities. Projects in a further 1 150 schools are either in planning, design or construction stages, the President said.

During his speech, the President remembered Michael Komape, who drowned in a pit toilet at Mahlodumela Primary School in Limpopo in 2014, and Lumka Mkethwa, from Luna Junior Primary School in the Eastern Cape, who lost her life in March 2018 under the same circumstances.

Speaking at the gala dinner on Friday, the President reiterated government’s commitment to eradicating inadequate sanitation facilities within the next three years.

The dinner, which was also attended by golfers, Ministers and special guests such as struggle stalwart Andrew Mlangeni, took place after the President played golf with representatives from different sectors of the economy – from big business stakeholders to government officials.

The golf tourney is an annual occasion that is facilitated by the Department of Public Service and Administration aimed at raising funds for a foundation that is chaired by the sitting President, with proceeds going towards a worthy cause that the foundation supports.

Addressing guests at the gala dinner, the President said with 70% of the proceeds going towards the pit latrine eradication campaign, the remaining amount will be spent towards the upskilling of teachers and the incubation of small to medium size enterprises.

The President said, meanwhile, that the Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation has done some excellent work in the education space through its “adopt-a-school” programme, which was launched in 2002.

The programme, the President said, has been a pacesetter and a model-maker towards improving education. Over 400 schools have been adopted nationwide.

The programme is done through the foundation’s replicable model of whole school development, which is a holistic model aimed at improving academic, infrastructural, social and leadership environments in schools.

The Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation partners with a wide range of stakeholders, including corporates, individuals, best practice NGOs and the Department of Basic Education from district to national levels in the implementation of whole school development. – SAnews.gov.za