Businessman restores dignity with toilets

Businessman Madoda Tshokotshi hands teachers the keys to the toilets he built at Sandile Primary School in Tsholomnqa.
PHILANTHROPIST Businessman Madoda Tshokotshi hands teachers the keys to the toilets he built at Sandile Primary School in Tsholomnqa.
Image: BHONGO JACOB

As the education department struggles to build toilets for thousands of pupils in rural Eastern Cape communities, a Tsholomnqa-born businessman, Madoda Tshokotshi, has built pit latrines at his alma mater.

Sandile Primary School teachers, parents and pupils sang and danced for two hours at the school’s entrance while waiting for the handover event to start on Wednesday.

Speaking to journalists, Tshokotshi said he had been saddened by the sight of young pupils relieving themselves in the open.

Education MEC Fundile Gade said they were thankful for the helping hand and admitted they needed to “pull up our socks” and address sanitation problems at schools.

Tshokotshi said he had been asked by principal Alicia Gusha to build the school toilets, as well as netball and rugby fields.

“She said I should start with the toilets because the need is urgent, especially for Grade R.

“I saw children relieving themselves in the open many times and I thought of bringing the dignity of these children back, especially girls, who are at more risk of being violated.”

The Dispatch reported last month that just under 1,600 of the Eastern Cape’s 5,400 schools have been red-flagged as having inadequate sanitation.

A leaked internal provincial education infrastructure report from August revealed toilets in 1,598 schools in the province are not up to standard.

Tshokotshi has also emptied pit latrines in 75 schools in the province through his company, Moon and Earth Projects.

“I could not just pass the schools without doing anything. If I can do it elsewhere, I must also do it where I come from. So I sat down with my wife and she supported this idea.

“It’s important as communities to get involved in building our schools and not wait for the government,” he said.

Gade agreed.

“We thank the family for supporting the government.

“We will have to pull up our socks with the toilet issue because it is a human rights matter.”

bhongoj@tisoblackstar.co.za

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