[LISTEN] How dire is the state of public schools in the country?

In 2012, Equal Education engaged Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga to promulgate a law that would address the unacceptable state of schools across the country.

In 2013, a law was passed which identified the minimum infrastructure requirements that a school must meet and the timelines in which these conditions must be met.

Among these was that by 2016 schools must be provided with access to water, sanitation and electricity. The norms also made it clear that plain pit latrines are banned and therefore are not a form of sanitation.

By 2020, all public schools should be provided with an adequate number of classrooms, perimeter fencing and adequate water supply, electricity and sanitation.

Eusebius McKaiser speaks to the Department of Basic Education head of communications Elijah Mhlanga and Equal Hopolang co-head of research Hopolang Selebalo about the progress made so far.

READ: 'Children die in pit toilets, while MPs wear bling and designer suits'

The deadline for 2016 was not met. In the Eastern Cape, Limpopo and KZN schools are still using pit latrines.

Hopolang Selebalo, Co-head of research - Equal Education

We don't know what the baseline is. We don't know what we are dealing with.

Hopolang Selebalo, Co-head of research - Equal Education

READ: Eastern Cape school still without proper sanitation and classes

We have no clue what the department is going to address in 2020 or 2021. Everything is always a surprise.

Hopolang Selebalo, Co-head of research - Equal Education

Mhlanga says the department is working hard to meet the 2020 deadline.

It is not like we are sitting and doing nothing. We are doing a lot of work in the Eastern Cape. We have built more new schools than in any other province.

Elijah Mhlanga, Head of communications - Department of Basic Education

The numbers we are getting from provinces are not reliable.

Elijah Mhlanga, Head of communications - Department of Basic Education

We also sent a team to those provinces to verify if the schools on those lists are deserving and have actually met the developments they are reporting.

Elijah Mhlanga, Head of communications - Department of Basic Education

Listen to the full interview below...


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