Soweto school under siege from toilet stink

Pupils at Tholimfundo Primary School, in Protea Glen,Soweto, boycotted classes yesterday to protest against lack of ablution facilities at the school Picture: THULANI MBELE
Pupils at Tholimfundo Primary School, in Protea Glen,Soweto, boycotted classes yesterday to protest against lack of ablution facilities at the school Picture: THULANI MBELE

Broken classroom doors, ceilings hanging mid-air and no decent toilets for hundreds of pupils.

This is the sorry state of affairs at Tholimfundo Primary School in Protea Glen, Soweto.

Yesterday, pupils stood outside the school gates refusing to go to class in protest over these conditions.

A 12-year-old Grade 6 pupil said the smell from the mobile toilets provided by the education department to the school was unbearable.

"We were promised proper toilets in 2015 but nothing has happened. We are now using toilets from the foundation phase and some pupils relieve themselves anywhere in the school yard," she said.

School governing body (SGB) chairman Phemelo Keupilwe said classes for Grades 4, 5, 6 and 7 were being held in prefabs instead of proper classrooms.

"We've been waiting for the Gauteng department of education to provide us with proper infrastructure since 2015. We can't have our children being taught in prefabs in this day and age.

"Children don't have proper desks and chairs are broken. The department promised to deliver school furniture by May this year but nothing has happened" said Keupilwe.

Sowetan was given a tour of the school and found that the prefabs' toilets did not have seats and were blocked.

The stench from stagnant water nearby was overpowering from a distance.

In some classes ceiling boards were hanging down from the roof.

"The department hired toilets for the school but the contract expired so the service provider fetched their toilets," said Keupilwe.

"Teaching is always disrupted for a long time as kids have to queue to use the toilets."

He said the school was vandalised during the holidays.

"All the copper wires at school have been stolen. This is not the condition our kids can be taught under," he said.

An 11-year-old Grade 6 pupil said the state of their school was depressing. " The toilets are a health hazard for the pupils. We want a normal school that we can be proud of."

Gauteng education spokesman Steve Mabona said toilets were to be delivered late yesterday. "We will fast track appointing a service provider to manage the toilets until we have a proper set-up. We will check up on the situation at the school."

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