04 Jun

South Africa’s school pit latrine scandal: Why children are drowning

During his first week at school, five-year-old Michael Komape drowned in a pit latrine in northern South Africa. That day in January 2014 will be one his father James Komape will never forget.

As he takes me back to the school in Chebeng village, where the tragedy struck, his pain is palpable. “When I arrived at the opening of the toilet hole all I could see was a small hand,” he says.

“Some people were standing looking into the hole, no-one had thought to take him out. It’s the saddest thing I’ve ever seen. “No-one should die like that.

He pauses for a moment before continuing. “He must have been trying to call for help to maybe even climb out. It’s hard to accept that my son died alone and probably afraid.”

Mr Komape struggles to make eye contact. Instead he fixes his eyes on the neat row of brick toilet stalls, which were built after his son died in the toilet of rusty corrugated iron just metres away.

The iron sheet that had served as the seat collapsed when Michael sat on it. He fell in, along with the seat and its white plastic lid, the authorities said. But this is not a one-off problem affecting one school.

While access to proper sanitation is a basic human right enshrined in South Africa’s constitution, many pupils have no choice but to use pit toilets.

How did things get so bad? Analysts say it is partly a legacy of apartheid, since under white-minority rule virtually no resources were allocated to develop schools for poor, predominately black children. Also to blame is the failure to maintain existing infrastructure, however basic.

Back at their home just outside Polokwane, the main city in Limpopo province, the Komapes tell me they want justice for Michael’s death.

With the help of Section27, a human rights law firm, the family are set to appeal against a recent court ruling which rejected their claim for damages over the incident.

To read the full article, click here.

05 Dec

Nigeria: FG – 3,000 Nigerian Migrants Repatriated From Libya

Abuja — The federal government has revealed that no less than 3,000 Nigerians have so far been repatriated from Libya in the wake of recent slave trading in that country.

The government said only last week, 250 Nigerians were repatriated also from Libya.

Charge d’Affaires of Nigeria in Libya, Mr Illiya Danladi Fachano, made the disclosure yesterday in Abuja, while addressing the Charles Oputa, alias Charly Boy-led group, “OurMumuDonDo”, who had converged on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Abuja, to urge the government to act quickly in order to save the lives of Nigerians trapped in Libya.

“Good morning everybody. Like the man introducing me, I am the Charge d’Affaires. In other words, the Nigerian Head of Mission to that country. “I exist there to serve the interest of Nigerians. I am here by this opportunity you have created to tell you that the mission repatriates migrant Nigerians; every week, 250,” Fachano said.

The envoy disclosed further that another batch of 250 Nigerian migrants would be repatriated to the Nigeria tomorrow. “They are going to arrive Lagos at 7p.m. If it is not 7p.m, it is because the plane is delayed for one reason or the other,” he added.

He disclosed that the mission usually visits every week, the detention camps where illegal Nigerian migrants are detained. He added that other nationalities such as Ghanaians and Gambians, were also detained at the camps, saying that the mission visits the camps to identify Nigerian citizens and get them registered.

To read the full article, please click here.