Amnesty International South Africa has launched its pit toilet tracker which monitors how many schools in the country are still being subjected to inadequate ablution and sanitation.
The organisation is also calling on people to continue signing a petition started in 2020 which has garnered more than 20,000 signatures demanding the Basic Education Department eradicate pit toilets in schools across South Africa.
According to Amnesty International, current government data shows that South Africa still has over 5,000 schools that do not have proper ablution facilities and still use pit toilets.
Amnesty International SA’s Executive Director Shenilla Mohamed said the Basic Education Department must urgently act on its commitment to priorities replacing all pit toilets in schools by 2023 with concrete actions.
“The DBE has been repeatedly moving the deadline when it comes to eradicating pit toilets and ensuring that all schools have proper and safe sanitation facilities. These illegal pit toilets are not only violating the right to sanitation, which is enshrined in the Constitution, but also the right to health, education, dignity, privacy whilst in some cases posing a serious risk to the right to life.”
A report released in September 2021 by the South African Human Rights Commission revealed that over a million pupils and teachers are affected by the challenges of poor sanitation in schools.