A primary school in Orange Farm, Johannesburg, has been temporarily closed because raw sewage was flowing into classrooms and clogged toilets, some riddled with maggots.
According to eNCA, Nomini Primary School’s drainage system was to blame. The stench and concerns for pupils’ health led to the closure of the school almost a week ago.
School governing body (SGB) member Mary Nkwanyana told eNCA that in rainy weather sewage rises in the corridors and seeps into classrooms.
“We can’t have this situation. How will they learn when there’s a foul smell? They are even scared to step inside the classroom and they don’t have a place to play anymore. The sewage is also close to the kitchen where food is prepared for the children.”
Parents interviewed at the school were visibly upset and asked for intervention from the Gauteng education department.
The ANC Youth League (ANCYL) in Orange Farm has threatened to march to the offices of Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi over the situation, Jacaranda FM reported.
The league’s Penuel Maduna, who was also a member of the education and health subcommittee at the ANC’s Joburg region, reportedly said the sewage crisis at the school went back as far as 2013.
In a letter to the education department dated February 12, that was shared online, the SGB wrote that the matter was reported to the district office and head office in October last year, but that nothing had been done.
The SGB then informed the department that the school would be closing “until the issue is given the serious attention it deserves”.
Gauteng education department spokesperson Steve Mabona told Jacaranda FM the issues of infrastructure at the school were identified last year. It was hoped that the school could pay for the repairs.
However, the department realised it was beyond the school’s means to fix the sewage spillage on its premises.
“[On Monday] the officials went to the school to conduct some assessments, but today [Tuesday] the processes of refurbishment, the process of fixing the problems will begin,” Mabona told Jacaranda FM.
In October last year, around 300 pupils at the same school fell ill and were treated for stomach cramps and vomiting after allegedly eating sweets from a local hawker, News24 reported.
– Compiled by Riaan Grobler