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President Cyril Ramaphosa has committed the majority of the proceeds raised from the annual Presidential Golf Challenge to a national campaign to eradicate pit toilets from schools.

Speaking at the Presidential Golf Challenge gala dinner at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on Friday, the President said he had decided that 70% of the funds raised at the event would go towards the pit latrine eradicating campaign while the remaining funds would go towards upskilling teachers and the incubation of small to medium size enterprises.

In August last year, the President, together with Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga, launched the SAFE initiative, rallying leaders of business to pledge their support towards the eradication of pit latrines in schools.

Schools still struggling

At the State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Thursday, President Ramaphosa said nearly 4 000 schools still have inappropriate sanitation facilities.

“Given the scale and urgency of the problem, we launched the SAFE Initiative in August last year, through which we mobilised all available resources, including pledges from business, strategic partners, and the building industry to replace all unsafe toilets in public schools,” he highlighted.

Since the launch of SAFE, 699 schools have been provided with safe and appropriate sanitation facilities. Projects in a further 1 150 schools are either in planning, design or construction stages, the President said.

Remembering Michael Komape and Lumka Mkethwa

During his speech, the President remembered Michael Komape, who drowned in a pit toilet at Mahlodumela Primary School in Limpopo in 2014, and Lumka Mkethwa, from Luna Junior Primary School in the Eastern Cape, who lost her life in March last year under the same circumstances.

“We are determined to eradicate unsafe and inappropriate sanitation facilities within the next three years,” he said.

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