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Classes suspended at sewage-hit city school

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Pools of raw sewage have formed near classrooms, while two young pupils have apparently fallen into the effluent.

Pools of sewage at Sol Plaatje Intermediate Phase School. Picture: Soraya Crowie

SCHOOLING at Sol Plaatje Intermediate Phase School in Kimberley will be suspended until sewage problems are sorted out.

Parents and community members intend to stage a march to the Northern Cape Department of Education if the pools of raw sewage that accumulate around the classrooms are not cleaned up within the next seven days.

A crisis committee, which was established by parents and community members, handed over a memorandum to the school yesterday, demanding that the sewage leaks, faulty pipes and blocked drains in the schoolyard be immediately repaired.

Teachers who suffer from sinus problems were booked off sick this week due to the stench, while it was reported that two pupils, in Grade 1 and Grade 3, had fallen into the effluent.

A parent, Elizabeth Kopanda, said yesterday that the sewage problems have been plaguing the school since 2017.

“It regularly accumulates around the Grade R, 1 and 3 classrooms and it is a recurring problem,” said Kopanda.

A community representative, Poncho Mocwana, said that they were calling for a permanent solution to the problem.

“Children will be withdrawn until this health hazard is fixed. It does not help to temporarily drain the area only to find that it is flooded the following day. If the problem persists, we will arrange a march to the Department of Education’s offices and lodge a complaint with the South African Human Rights Commission because this poses a serious safety risk,” said Mocwana.

Complaints have also been received regarding sewage and overflowing manholes at Beacon Primary School and Reneilwe Primary School.

Northern Cape Department of Education spokesperson Geoffrey van der Merwe said yesterday that they were aware of the sewerage problems at Sol Plaatje Intermediate Phase School.

“A team from the department and the Sol Plaatje Municipality visited the school yesterday morning to assess the situation. It has been established that the problem is caused by blocked sewage pipes. The school was directed to make use of its maintenance budget to resolve the matter,” said Van der Merwe.

He added that the situation at Beacon and Reneilwe primary schools was receiving the necessary attention from the department.

Sol Plaatje Municipality spokesperson Sello Matsie said a sanitation team and the acting city engineer were sent out to assist the schools yesterday.

Matsie warned members of the public against throwing foreign objects into drains and manholes.

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