DA questions infrastructure at schools and EMS response following the senseless death of a grade 1 pupil.

Issued by Mariette Pittaway – DA Spokesperson for Education in the Free State Legislature
19 Sep 2022 in Press Statements

Note to Editors: Please find attached English and Afrikaans soundbites by Mariette Pittaway MPL

The DA is saddened by the news of the death of a grade 1 pupil at Caleb Motshabi Primary School in Bloemfontein.

The 8 year old reportedly got his head stuck in the window frame of a mobile toilet while playing with friends. After three hours of waiting for an ambulance to arrive the boy unfortunately died. The DA will seek answers from the Department of Education (DoE) as well as the Department of Health (DoH) for this senseless loss of a young life.

Schools are meant to be more than a centre for learning. They are a place of safety, where parents can feel at ease, knowing that their children are in a safe space while they are at work. The Free State DoE has failed parents dismally in this regard.

The Free State DoE allocated R260, 596 million and R297, 440 million in the 2020/21 and 2021/22 financial years respectively for the upgrades and provision of additional facilities in schools. For the 2022/23 financial year, R360 million has been set aside to provide schools with additional facilities such as ablution facilities, grade R classes, nutrition centres and laboratories to ensure that the minimum standards for school infrastructure are complied with.

The construction of this school has been the centre of controversy for a number of years and there is no excuse for the use of mobile toilets in schools when such huge amounts of money are allocated for upgrades to facilities. The DA will probe the circumstances around the mobile toilet and will continue to fight for better infrastructure in our schools. We will also question the MEC of Health, Ms Tsiu on the slow response of ambulance services to the scene, which is becoming an unacceptable norm in the province.

Access to education and health care are basic human rights provided for in section 27 of the constitution. Residents of the Free State deserve a government that cares about them enough to deliver decent facilities which help them grow and give them dignity. They deserve a government that at least gets the basics right.