Children continue to attend schools without safe sanitation, court hears

Polokwane - Children in South Africa continue to attend schools without the comfort of safe sanitation, Michael Komape’s family lawyer argued in the Limpopo High Court on Friday.

Komape, aged 5, drowned after falling into a pit toilet at a school near Polokwane in 2014.

Four years and twelve days later, his family is still battling to survive. They have taken the matter to court, seeking so-called constitutional damages for his death.

The family is seeking more than R2 million in special and constitutional damages‚ medical damages, and loss of income for Michael’s mother Rosina, who abandoned her work days after her son had drowned in human faeces.

During closing arguments, the family's lawyer Vincent Maleka said it remained to be seen whether the basic education department would solve the problem of poor sanitation at schools.

He also argued that the government had the money, but lacked the willingness to fix the problem.

He wants the court to declare that the department had failed to ensure there were safe toilets.

Read more here: Appeals for toilet upgrades were 'ignored', says ex-principal of Michael Komape's school

It emerged during the hearing that the toilet Michael had fallen into was more than two decades old, rusty and had no cover.

But it remained in use at the time as the school management's pleas to the department for other toilets to be built, were allegedly ignored.

Judgment has been reserved.