First Thing, Daily Maverick's flagship newsletter

Join the 230 000 South Africans who read First Thing newsletter.

We'd like our readers to start paying for Daily Maverick

More specifically, we'd like those who can afford to pay to start paying. What it comes down to is whether or not you value Daily Maverick. Think of us in terms of your daily cappuccino from your favourite coffee shop. It costs around R35. That’s R1,050 per month on frothy milk. Don’t get us wrong, we’re almost exclusively fuelled by coffee. BUT maybe R200 of that R1,050 could go to the journalism that’s fighting for the country?

We don’t dictate how much we’d like our readers to contribute. After all, how much you value our work is subjective (and frankly, every amount helps). At R200, you get it back in Uber Eats and ride vouchers every month, but that’s just a suggestion. A little less than a week’s worth of cappuccinos.

We can't survive on hope and our own determination. Our country is going to be considerably worse off if we don’t have a strong, sustainable news media. If you’re rejigging your budgets, and it comes to choosing between frothy milk and Daily Maverick, we hope you might reconsider that cappuccino.

We need your help. And we’re not ashamed to ask for it.

Our mission is to Defend Truth. Join Maverick Insider.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

Learners picket in Pretoria over govt scrapping deadlin...

South Africa


Learners picket in Pretoria over govt scrapping deadlines to fix schools

Learners protested outside the Department of Basic Education in Pretoria on Friday against proposed amendments to the minimum norms and standards for public school infrastructure. (Photo: Magnificent Mndebele)

Department says learners’ memo will be considered along with other public comments on its proposed amendments.

About 150 Equal Education (EE) members and learners from over 50 schools protested outside the Department of Basic Education office in Pretoria on Friday. They were objecting to proposed amendments to the minimum norms and standards for public school infrastructure.

Under new draft amendments, deadlines have been removed for when government must eradicate pit latrines and provide classrooms and basic services such as water and electricity.

Last week, EE and Equal Education Law Centre (EELC) wrote a letter to the department condemning its proposed changes to the Norms and Standards for Public School Infrastructure regulations. After the outcry that followed, the department extended the deadline for public comment from 10 to 31 July. The original deadline fell within the school holiday period.

“Without the urgency and accountability that is demanded by the deadlines, poor and working-class communities will never know when their schools will be fixed,” said EE Jay-Dee Cyster in a statement.

In a memorandum on Friday, the learners asked the department to use plain and simple language in the regulations so that the public could easily understand it.

EE is also demanding that the department immediately eradicate pit toilets at all schools.

Head of research at EE Hopolang Selebalo said, “The biggest struggle is at rural schools. These are the most under-resourced schools. We know that pit latrines exist predominantly in KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and Limpopo.”

The first deadline was to ensure that schools had water, electricity, sanitation and safe infrastructure by 29 November 2016. This deadline was missed by several provincial education departments.

Schools were then meant to have fences, telephones and internet access by 29 November 2020 but this is still not the case at many schools.

Selebalo questioned the timing of the department’s proposal to scrap the deadlines because 2023 is the next deadline for the provision of libraries and laboratories in schools. It is unlikely that the department would meet this deadline.

“To remove those safeguards in the law is regressive and does not take the best interest of a child to heart,” said Selebalo.

EE also wants the education minister and the provincial MEC to host public meetings by no later than 29 November to discuss the progress of eradicating poor school infrastructure backlogs.

The memo was received by department spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga. “We will take it to the committee that is processing all the public comments received between now and 31 July,” he said. DM

Gugulesizwe Khumalo is an Equaliser and Grade 11 learner from Phakamani Secondary School in Etwatwa, east of Gauteng. (Photo: Magnificent Mndebele)

First published by GroundUp.


Comments - share your knowledge and experience

Please note you must be a Maverick Insider to comment. Sign up here or sign in if you are already an Insider.

Everybody has an opinion but not everyone has the knowledge and the experience to contribute meaningfully to a discussion. That’s what we want from our members. Help us learn with your expertise and insights on articles that we publish. We encourage different, respectful viewpoints to further our understanding of the world. View our comments policy here.

No Comments, yet

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted