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Johannesburg – No Gauteng schools are using the bucket toilet system, education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said on Tuesday.

“When I came into office, we identified about 200 schools with the worst sanitation facilities. There are no schools using the bucket system in Gauteng today,” Lesufi said.

“Investing in school sanitation is an investment in the dignity of our youth. In 2014 and 2015 we invested R250m in schools infrastructure, and some of this was used for sanitation,” he said.

Lesufi said that this year the department would invest a further R300m.

The MEC was speaking at a seminar on sanitation in schools. Also attending the event was the Sulabh International Centre for Action Sociology, a global non-profit organisation based in India, with the support of the Sanlam Foundation.

Sulabh is a sanitation-focused NGO that first introduced the School Sanitation Club in India to highlight the benefits of good, basic sanitation and to serve as a core maintenance group for the toilet facilities once they are upgraded.

The Sanlam Foundation has invested an initial R3m towards the renovation of toilet blocks at six schools in Gauteng.

Francois Adriaan, the head of the Sanlam Foundation, said that shaping a solution for sanitation in South Africa was an issue that could not go unnoticed.

“At Sanlam we believe that a solid foundation needs to be built through education because every child schooled contributes to the future development of our country,” Adriaan said.

He said if they can help to address these issues, they could contribute towards building a learning ethos at schools where young people were treated with dignity and respect.

“As a business with a keen interest in community upliftment and education, we are proud to partner with Sulabh and the Gauteng Education Department.”