By Nosipho Radebe
Amnesty International says the department of basic education must make clear the standard operating procedures at schools during lockdown to ensure accountability and efficient monitoring.
The human rights organisation says it’s unacceptable that a school in Motherwell in the Eastern Cape had to redirect its own budget to purchase a Jojo water tank.
Melisizwe Primary School was the target of repeated break-ins and vandalism during the national lockdown in June, forcing it to buy and erect its own razor-wire fence.
In a report by Amnesty International released in February, exactly 4,358 out of the 23,471 public schools were found to have only illegal pit latrines for sanitation, while 37 schools had no sanitation facilities. Field research by the organisation prior to the lockdown in March also found some schools lack both decent sanitation and reliable water supply.
This week, Grade R, 6, and 11 learners joined matriculants and grade 7’s when they returned to school on Monday.
The return of the remaining grades will be staggered over the next few weeks as part of the government’s efforts to implement safety regulations in curbing the spread of COVID-19.
Amnesty International’s Mienke Steytler says at a time when access to water and sanitation is of utmost importance, the lack of this essential provision at schools is deeply worrying.