Section 27's Heywood says the death of 5-year-old Viwe Jali in a pit toilet at her school was a tragic accident waiting to happen.
The little girl is believed to have drowned on Monday in her school toilet in the Eastern Cape. She lay there overnight and was only found the next day.
We know there is the danger of children falling into them because they are not protected properly.— Mark Heywood, Section 27
They are also a threat to hygiene and health, he says.
According to Department of Basic Education 2016 stats, more than 9000 schools across the country have only pit latrines, and Heywood says hundreds of thousands of pupils have no choice but to use them.
It is shocking but also disgusting.— Mark Heywood, Section 27
He says the department claims to have a plan to eradicate them but nothing seems to be done.
But, he adds, pit latrines in and of themselves are not the problem in rural areas where there is no water for example. it is the lack of safety measures that is the issue.
It is the safety and the method of construction and the hygiene of the pit toilets.— Mark Heywood, Section 27
He believes all pit toilets can be made safe and hygienic at a total cost of R100 million.
Listen below as Heywood explains that the technology and money is available, but the sense of urgency in government seems lacking: