The school hostel has apparently been operating without water since October last year.
PUPILS from a school hostel in Delportshoop embarked on a peaceful march to the Dikgatlong Local Municipality on Thursday morning to demand water.
The hostel has apparently been operating without water since October last year due to an electric cable that burnt.
The pupils, who are from four different schools around Delportshoop, returned to the hostel for the 2022 academic year to find blocked and stinky toilets and drains.
There are currently also staff members and teachers staying at the hostel.
The pupils have had to walk over half a kilometre on a daily basis to fetch water for themselves from an “unsafe” community centre, sometimes at night.
A temporary electric connection was reportedly made for the electricity to be restored in order for the hostel to function in November 2021.
The school governing body (SGB) of Delportshoop Combined School pointed out, however, that the electric current was not strong enough to allow the hostel borehole to pump water.
According to the SGB, they were promised by Dikgatlong Local Municipality that a new electric cable had been “ordered”.
The water has never been restored since then. They started engaging with the Northern Cape Department of Education and the local municipality, demanding answers, three weeks ago.
The chairperson of the SGB at Delportshoop Combined School, Michelline Fourie, said they had been “lied to and given false hope”.
Yesterday, the pupils marched through the streets of Delportshoop carrying empty water buckets and shouting “re batla metsi” (we are asking for water).
They locked the gates to the municipal yard, preventing all access in and out.
Fourie said they suspect that the municipality never ordered the new electric cable.
She added that the department had blamed the local municipality throughout the process.
She went on to explain that the SGB had replaced the damaged pump at the hostel in preparation for the restoration of the electricity.
“The officials only started making phone calls today (Thursday) after they were locked in,” said Fourie.
“It was only today that a temporary solution was sought by the municipality to allocate water to the hostels. A water connection was made from the municipal pipe, directly to the hostel.”
Fourie explained that the situation was becoming “dire” and that there was great concern for the health and safety of the children, while the Department of Education “turns a blind eye”.
“Sometimes the learners had to walk to the community centre in the dark and it was unsafe. The centre has turned into a crime haven where drug addicts hide out.
“The place is also overgrown with trees due to the recent rains and is surrounded by poisonous snakes.”
The Northern Cape Department of Education stated on Thursday that “it is not true that the Delportshoop Combined School has been without water since November 2021”.
The department said that the hostel at the school is making use of a borehole to supply water to pupils who are accommodated there.
“The electric cable to the hostel has been faulty, which caused the borehole pump not to work at full capacity. The school is now receiving water directly from the municipality as an interim measure while the electrical cable will be fixed by the municipality over the weekend.”