DA to take legal action over pit toilets

The DA paid a visit to the family of Langalam Viki, whose tragic drowning death in a pit toilet in Mcwangele village near Queenstown earlier this month shocked the country. On Human Rights Day, the DA unveiled a two-point plan to get rid of pit toilets throughout South Africa.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) leader, John Steenhuisen, was accompanied by the DA Eastern Cape Province Leader, Andrew Whitfield, the DA Shadow Minister of Basic Education, Baxolile Nodada, the Chief Whip of the Official Opposition, Siviwe Gwarube, the DA Eastern Cape Shadow MEC for Education, Edmund van Vuuren, and the North East Cape Constituency Leader, Sanele Magaqa.

The DA visited the Viki family on Human Rights Day to kickstart their two-point plan that aims to eradicate pit toilets in school. PICTURE: DA/FACEBOOK

According to Steenhuisen, the DA will begin legal actions after consulting with its attorneys to determine the quickest and most efficient way to order governments across the country to build suitable sanitation facilities for all schoolchildren as a fundamental human right.

“The DA’s Shadow Minister of Basic Education, Baxolile Nodada, will also be launching a country-wide campaign to eradicate pit toilets, which will include widespread oversight visits of all school infrastructure, or a lack thereof, which may place the life of a child at risk,” said Steenhuisen.

The usage of pit toilets in all provinces has been the subject of several parliamentary inquiries from the political party, according to Steenhuisen, and the answers to these questions have revealed little to no progress in eliminating this dangerous infrastructure.

He stated that they will eliminate pit toilets to ensure that no other family suffers the horrific indignities that the Viki family did. He also disclosed that given the interest from all sectors of society, they will collaborate with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working in the field of education, civil society organisations, and public advocacy groups to put together a compelling argument.

“It is clear that while the ANC national government has cut education budgets to bail out failing state turned entities, presided over government departments where billions have been lost to corruption. It does not care that young children do not have a safe place to relieve themselves in dignity without the threat of death,” said the DA leader.

Steenhuisen believes that until every child has access to safe and dignified sanitation in schools, we cannot celebrate Human Rights Day.

“Until all South Africans have access to three meals a day, until every citizen has access to housing and sanitation, and until all South Africans can live in dignity, we will never truly be free,” said Steenhuisen.

The tragic death of four-year-old Langalam Viki, a preschool pupil at Mcwangele Junior Secondary School in Cacadu, prompted the continuous call to ban pit toilets in schools because this was not the first incidence. She was laid to rest on Saturday, March 18.

The Department of Education in the Eastern Cape began an internal investigation into the incident.