The Minister of Basic Education, Mrs Angie Motshekga is humbled by the immense support and interest in the Sanitation Appropriate for Education (SAFE) initiative launched by President Cyril Ramaphosa in Pretoria yesterday morning.
The initiative raised over R45 million rand as well as a number of pledges in the form of professional services. There were some organisations that already work in schools and have committed to ensure that all of the schools they work in have SAFE and appropriate sanitation.
Some of those who contributed on the day include Avbob, Intsika, Ango American, Lonmin, Unilever, Unicef, Sasol, IDC, Indigo Kulani Group, SA Institute of Architects, Tile Africa, Amalooloo and others. It is anticipated that many others will go back to their boards of Directors and divert funding for this initiative.
“I would like to thank all of those businesses and individuals who have agreed to partner with the Department of Basic Education to eradicate pit latrines in our schools and restore the dignity of our children, the support has been truly incredible.” Said Minister Motshekga.
The President launched the breakfast event attended by CEO’s of corporate companies as well as prominent individuals where he explained Governments on-going efforts thus far in providing appropriate sanitation to schools.
In instances where reticulated water connections are not available, government has already provided appropriate alternative sanitation technologies in around 9,600 public schools.
Currently there are 3898 schools that require appropriate sanitation interventions and in many of these there is not reticulated water available. A portion of these will be able to be dealt with in the current financial year through provincial Education budgets, however in order to fast track the complete eradication of pit latrines in schools requires more than Government coffers can provide.
In the spirit of former President Nelson Mandela, President Ramaphosa implored upon the business community to partner with us through their Corporate Social Investment to assist Government in restoring dignity to our children by eradicating pit latrines in schools, and ensuring that our children are able to relieve themselves safely and in a dignified space in our schools.
“The Sanitation Appropriate for Education – or SAFE – initiative will spare generations of young South Africans the indignity, discomfort and danger of using pit latrines and other unsafe facilities in our schools. Schools should be places where children can be safe, supported, nurtured and empowered.” Said the President.
“Given the overwhelming scale of backlogs and the current state of the economy, it is also clear that government cannot address this important basic human right without assistance from the private sector. It is for this reason that today we are launching the Sanitation Appropriate For Education (SAFE) initiative,” said President Ramaphosa.
President Ramaphosa explained that through direct contributions to the SAFE Initiative, companies can support the construction of models of new technology toilets as a core component of the plan for each school. Secondly, companies can adopt a group of schools as model schools for joint sanitation-water-energy off-grid solutions. Thirdly, companies can be part of building a South African base for the industrialisation of these new technologies for local and global markets.
In whatever way one chooses to assist, there is an urgent need to collectively develop infrastructure that will bring dignity to those who lack safe and adequate sanitation and, thereby, improve public health.
This initiative was launched in partnership with the National Education Collaboration Trust (NECT), UNICEF and the Nelson Mandela Foundation which have all pledged their support in various ways to the initiative. The NECT will manage the implementation of the programme going forward and also manage the funds that are donated towards eradicating pit latrines.
“The response from the private sector has been immense, and it is humbling to see how so many have responded to the call made by the President and committed to helping us in these efforts to restore dignity to our children,” said Minister Motshekga.
Again we would like to thank all of those who have agreed to partner with us during this year when we celebrate Tata Nelson Mandela, to give our nation’s children the dignity they deserve and to ensure they are able to access education in a safe and happy environment.
Enquiries: Elijah Mhlanga – 083 580 8275 | Troy Martens – 079 899 3070