IFP: Heads must roll following death of five-year-old child in pit latrine

The IFP is calling for heads to roll, following the death of a five-year-old child, who was found in a pit latrine at an Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centre in Mariannhill, West of Durban.

According to reports, it is alleged that the child, Elihle Nyembe, was reported missing last Tuesday, 31 August, after children were taken to an ablution facility during the day.

This is gross negligence, and somebody must be held accountable. Serious questions must be asked as to why the young children were allowed to go to the toilets by themselves – without any supervision. It has been reported that the teacher only noticed that a child was missing during a head count, much later. This proves that there was negligence somewhere, somehow, and therefore someone must be held accountable. When parents send their children to ECD Centres they dont expect them to die there and come back home in a coffin.

Further, this tragic incident demonstrates the health and safety dangers of pit latrines. It yet again emphasises the urgent need to address the use of inhumane pit latrines in schools and ECD Centres, particularly in rural areas, where the poorest and most under-resourced schools are in the majority.

We also demand answers on how this unregistered ECD Centre was allowed to operate in the first place. This Centre is situated in the eThekwini Metro, which is not a rural municipality. As such, it should have been registered and monitored by the Department of Social Development. This Department has most certainly dropped the ball in this regard. We demand that the KZN MEC for Social Development, Nonhlanhla Khoza, take drastic action against the owner of the ECD Centre where the child died and shut it down immediately. Action must be taken against all unregistered ECD Centres and after-school care facilities that are not on par with legal requirements. These regulations must be enforced to prevent future tragedies.

The IFP urges parents to ensure that ECD Centres are registered before entrusting their children into their care. Parents must ensure that ECD Centres conform with legal requirements and are monitored by the Department of Social Development.

The IFP send its heartfelt condolences to Elihle Nyembes family in this difficult time.