POLOKWANE, May 10 – While most of the schools damaged during demarcation protests in Vuwani in Limpopo have been renovated, Frank Mukhaswakule Primary School in Mashau village has been left with unfinished classrooms, dilapidated old pit toilets and dangerous holes on the school grounds.
Parents of learners at the school are worried that their children might fall and drown in the deep holes left uncovered by unpaid contactors last year. The school does not have proper sanitation, and so learners have to use old dilapidated pit toilets where they are at risk of getting trapped.
The primary school, which has more than 400 learners, was among the 28 schools burnt by angry residents in the Vuwani district who were protesting against the decision to incorporate their villages under the recently established Collins Chabane Municipality.
“We know we were wrong to vent our anger at the schools, but look, now it’s our learners who are left to suffer. We are worried as parents. Some of those holes at the school are as big as swimming pools. Who knows if the children will jump in there,” said Tshililo Mudau, a concerned parent.
She added: “The school does not even have proper toilets and our children are still forced to use dangerous pit toilets which are old and dilapidated. Proper toilets were supposed to have been built by now, but only holes (for the foundations) were dug and have just been left. The government should have been prioritising the building of school toilets but they are not.”
According to Mudau, contractors stopped renovation work at the school in December, claiming that they had not been paid. They are yet to continue with the renovations this year.
An 11-year-old learner at the school said she is afraid to use the toilets because they are old and dangerous. “The toilet seat is too big and you can see all the way down through it. They are so scary. If I want to pee, I pee outside as I am afraid of going inside those toilets,” she said.
Limpopo department of education spokesman Sam Makondo said authorities were aware of the situation at the school, and assured parents and learners that contractors will be back on site to continue with the renovations soon.