Death toilet still not rebuilt
The Mpumalanga education department has still not rebuilt a pit latrine that claimed the lives of two five-year-old pupils - six months after the accident happened.
It is now more than six months after the two children died when eight primary pupils fell into the pit toilet, whose floor had collapsed.
Pupils at Hlalakahle Primary School in Gottenburg, near Manyeleti Game Reserve, now rely on nearby bushes to answer the call of nature since schools reopened in January.
The toilet they had been using collapsed, trapping eight pupils, some of whom were aged six. The accident resulted in the death of the two pupils. The two children drowned in faeces in the latrine that had apparently not been built to standard.
"We always have to go to the nearby bushes to relieve ourselves because the toilets have not been rebuilt. I remember that it was during break when the accident happened. Our teacher had allowed us to go to the toilet. When we got into the toilet, the floor just caved in and all eight of us went down," one of the surviving children, Movement Mathebula, aged six, said yesterday.
His parents, Glacier Malope, 24, and Petro Mathebula, 26, said it was shocking the toilet had not been rebuilt.
"I don't know who is responsible for rebuilding it, but whoever it is is very irresponsible," said Malope.
The dead children were identified as Dimpho Ngobeni and Devotion Masinga, who were both aged five when the tragedy occurred.
The school principal, who refused to give her name but who Sowetan identified as Mrs Makhubela, refused to comment.
Repeated attempts to get comment from the Mpumalanga education department spokesman, Jasper Zwane, were fruitless as he failed to return our calls.