/Orange Farm primary school reopens after sewage spill forced shut down

Orange Farm primary school reopens after sewage spill forced shut down

Pupils at Nomini Primary School in Orange Farm have returned to class after a week of absence, following a sewage spillage at the school premises.

Learning was suspended at the school on February 13 as sewage spilled into the classrooms.

By Monday, affected areas had been sterilised and the heavy stench was gone, allowing pupils to get back to work.

There has been a sewage problem at the school since 2019.

According to school governing body treasurer Mary Nkwanyana, the school had employed local plumbers to attend to the problem, which was never fixed.  

“Our toilets used to block often last year, and plumbers would unblock them. However, the problem would arise again. It was almost like a monthly thing.

“The school spent a lot of money trying to attend to the problem until experts were employed. Those experts inserted cameras inside the sewer system and established that there were roots that were growing inside some sewer pipes and also soil was preventing sewage from flowing into the sewer manhole, forcing toilets to block,” said Nkwanyana.

The SGB wrote that the matter was reported to the
Nomini Primary School in Orange Farm. Image: Papi Morake/Gallo Images

When the school opened for the first term last month, the problem had worsened, she said.

“All toilets, including staff toilets, were blocked and maggots and other worms mushroomed and roamed inside toilets seats and they could not be flushed, preventing everybody from accessing them.

“Earlier this month, sewage from those toilets then spilled all over the place, including inside classrooms and the assembly point,” she said.

Nkwanyana said they were left with no option but to temporarily suspend classes, and teachers were also barred from entering the school for their own health.

“The area was so perilous that some children developed illnesses, including diarrhoea. We were not going to allow anybody inside the premises for their own safety.

“Last week, as the SGB, we went to the Department of Education in Johannesburg, where a service provider was introduced to us. The contractor then began his work on Thursday while children and teachers were away.

“He has lived up to his promises that by Monday everybody will be back in class. We are aware that the school is old and its infrastructure is also ageing. We thank the department for its intervention and are grateful that our children and teachers are back to school,” Nkwanayana said.

Parents interviewed at the school were visibly ups
Nomini Primary School in Orange Farm. Image: Papi Morake/Gallo Images

She said a catch-up plan was being implemented to recover lost time.

Gauteng Department of Education spokesperson Steve Mabona said the contractor had ensured that all pupils were back in class as promised.

“Currently, the service provider is digging new trenches to replace old pipes, ensuring that the problem won’t recur soon,” Mabona said.

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