Tshwane district (Soshanguve) in Gauteng

Two schools visited had dirty toilets with water flooding most cubicles due to faulty taps. Amogelang Secondary School in Block P has 1 200 pupils while Senthibele School in Block R has 962.

Cleaners and teachers at Amogelang blamed the pupils for the poor state of the schools, saying they were responsible for the vandalism. There is no fence around the school which means outsiders have access to the toilets.

Senthibile’€™s toilets were locked and the deputy principal Ms Masuku said it was because they had been broken due to vandalism.

Pupils said the toilets had been locked because they were broken and dirty.

Manamelong Primary School in Winterveldt has 1 200 learners. The septic-tank toilets were mostly broken and flooded due to leaking taps. The school governing body, frustrated by the lack of response from the Education department, has installed Ventilated Improved Pit (VIP) latrines, which are serviced twice a month by a private company. The learners’ toilets were dirty while the teachers’€™ toilets were clean.

Three other schools in the Winterveldt, Siamisang Primary, Lesolang and HM Baloyi High Schools all had similar conditions with broken VIP toilets that are not maintained or fixed. At Siamisang, the toilets have been placed in front of the school leaving no place for learners to play.

Vhembe district in Limpopo

Mafukani pre-school has holes in the grounds for toilets and the facilities are not enclosed. A snake bit a four-year old in March when she used a toilet. The principal, Thanzielo Mbedzi, said they had put in several requests with the Department of Education for proper toilets to be built.

Matavhela Secondary School has 1 200 pupils, 28 teachers and 12 toilets ‘€“ four for girls, four for boys and four for the teachers. Pupils confirmed that they prefer to use the bushes, as the toilets are dirty and blocked. ‘€œNobody can do into those toilets, it is not healthy. They are full of worms,’€ said a 17-year-old who asked to remain anonymous. The principal declined to comment.

Selemale Secondary School is about 26km outside Thohoyandou, at Makonde Village. A teacher had warned that a visit to the toilets is ‘€œnot for the fainthearted’€.

Boys have to navigate an overgrown path with long grass to find their way to the toilets. The 100 metre walk reveals what was once zinc-enclosed toilets that are now destroyed, lying on their side or upside down. However, the more 700 boys mostly use the bush instead of the toilets.

The girls’€™ toilets are brick structures, but most have no doors and the floors were covered in excrement. All the toilets were blocked and overflowing.

 UMgungundlovu district in KwaZulu-Natal

Hlenlingomuso Primary School in Pietermaritzburg has 1 200 learners from Grade R to Grade 7. A tour by one of the teachers Mr Ndlovu reveals that the teachers’€™ toilet is in a state of disrepair with broken seats, toilet paper holders and a gut-wrenching stench in the air. Nolwazi and Samkelo lead the tour to the learner toilets. The stench from the largely blocked and broken toilets is overwhelming with litter scattered all over. There is no toilet paper.

 Lusikisiki (OR Tambo district)

Zwelixolile Senior Primary School was built in 1994. This rural primary school has a tap on site as well as four rainwater tanks, there were enough toilets, but they were dirty and blocked. The school is overcrowded and the walls are mostly from mud.

Siwali Senior Secondary School was built in 1997. There are 10 toilets of which six are for the pupils, which is not enough for the more than 1 000 children. The toilets were dirty and blocked. Both the principals at Siwali and at another school in a similar state, Mavela, refused to allow pictures, saying the toilets were in a shocking state.

Lusikisiki Village School was built in 1972 and has around 1 500 pupils with 18 teachers. Despite being in a town with municipal services, the school still has pit toilets and communal taps. The pupils’€™ toilets were filthy and not cleaned while the teachers’€™ toilets were clean.

Qakatisa Junior Secondary School is situated in the Mevana and has about 700 pupils and 14 teachers. ‘€œIn this school we have dug toilets that are not healthy and are dirty because we have no water. The doors were broken down in 2010 and nobody has fixed them,’€ said a teacher, who asked to remain anonymous. The toilets also have no walls to separate the cubicles, which means the pupils have no privacy. A tap was installed in 2009, but there has never been running water. There are three water tanks, but once these run dry pupils collect water from a stream.

Christian Junior Secondary outside Lusikisiki has 600 learners, nine teachers and 10 toilets, with a teacher confirming that they do not have enough toilets. They depend on one water tank and a tap that has been broken since 2011. The school reports that many children suffer from diarrhoea. Anathi (not her real name), in Grade 8 said they faced long queues to use the toilets during break times.

Hillbrow, a former mission school, is on the outskirts of Lusikisiki and accommodates 1 675 learners with six toilets and four water tanks, that run dry in the winter. The pit toilets have no doors and are in a terrible state with children often ill.

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