KEY HOLDER: Wabotlhe Maruping

• Gathwane pupils answer the call on the ground around the spilling pit-latrines
• Painter holding on to school toilet keys until he is paid P4, 800

“Hold your breath and be as quick as possible,” this is the ritual, which has to be endured by Gathwane Primary school pupils as they use the almost spilling over pit latrines daily at the government school.
Small wonder, then, that many pupils at this school are said to be defecating in plastic bags before throwing the dirt away to avoid the stink. Other students would wait until everyone is back in class before taking a quick cover in the long grass behind the locked and unused flush toilets in their moment of need.
The flush toilets were built two years ago but the conflict between the contractors and the Goodhope Sub District forced the contractors to lock them up. In fact it is the sub contractor who was hired to paint the toilet who locked the toilets when the contractor failed to pay the P4 800 painting charge.
“I’ve kept these keys because I was not paid. The council owes me P4 800 for painting the interior of the two blocks of toilets,” explained Wabotlhe Maruping.
Maruping says the flush toilets were built because the pit latrines were posing a health hazard to the pupils.
“The floors are cracked and children avoid them and defecate on the grass outside. The toilets are stinking,” Maruping pointed out.
But the school head insists all is well but would not allow The Voice team to visit the toilets and ascertain that. The Education officer, based in Lobatse was out of office for the whole week and two other senior officers were said to be attending workshops and therefore unavailable to comment on the matter or give consent for the interview.
But village elders are concerned about the unsanitary conditions, fearing an outbreak of diseases.
Incidentally, Botswana is one of the world nations that have pledged to reduce by half the proportion of people who do not have basic sanitation. According to the United Nations, over 2.4 billion around the world are without adequate sanitation and this will be one of the issues on the agenda at the September special review summit on the Millennium Development Goals in New York.

WORRIED: Benjamin Tebele

Would the pledge translate into tangible improvements for the children of Gathwane primary school?
“Yes, if only the council would pay the contractor,” said a member of the village Development Committee, Benjamin Tebele.
He worries the most about the children’s health.
“We have no powers to force the contractor to submit the keys because we have no money to pay him. Our children are exposed to infections and we could have an outbreak anytime unless something is urgently done,” added Tebele.
Tebele said contrary to what the School head told The Voice, she had earlier complained about the full and stinking toilets to the VDC. He said the school was in fact in the process of draining the toilets and paying somebody to fix them.
The council is well aware of the matter. In fact, the senior assistant council secretary in Goodhope, Patrick Ncayagae contended that the dispute is between the contractor and the sub contractor.
“We paid the contractor, but it failed to pay the sub contractor and that is not our fault. We are going to unlock the toilets soon,” he pointed out.
Though the council is planning to take matters into their hands after two years, the toilets may still remain unused. The greater challenge is water.
“We have a serious issue of running clean water. Due to our geographical setup we don’t have enough ground water because our villages are on upper grounds. You would recall that our senior secondary school was almost closed because of water crisis,” pointed out Ncayagae.
All the 44 schools, 37 clinics and a population than runs into hundred thousands depend on one truck to drain the pit latrines. There is no sewage in the area as well therefore the truck has to travel to and from Lobatse daily and at times from as far as Mabule which is about 200 kilometers away.
There is hope though. The central government is in the process of building a P50 million sewage system in the area.
Ncayagae promises that, “the sewage system would be completed in 2011 and it would help us to be efficient and the truck would be able to make more loads as the journeys to the sewage would be shorter.”

Leave a Reply

Please Login to comment
9 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
9 Comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Notify of

was the painter properly engaged, are funds available for him? why can he not be paid.

we can not have our kids suffering and polluting the area. may God help officers pay the painter.


this is so hurtin, akanya bana ba kana ba tla lwala. the painter deservs to b paid, kante ke bosetlhgo jwa eng tota, kana this pple work cos ey hav to put food on their table, jaano fa concil e sa duelae motho e mo hirile ka ditumelano gatwe go tweng. ke rya gre this can cause so many bad outcums, health prblms 4 stdnts ka lebaka la P4800

Annoyed and Concerned

the Botswana government is stupid….they don’t mind spending millions to refurbish and build stadiums…in the hope of wooing world cup teams into the country…when a majority of those leaving in rural areas have to suffer at the hands of irresponsible civil servants…Why can’t they just get their priorities right before trying to fool others in a bid to generate funds which will only be used to upkeep Gabz….utter rubbish


Le wena wa tsenwa monna, o raya gore bana ba sokole fela jaana monna o pala ka di-key. Motho o ka go bona a go bidikanya mo seretseng se se nkgang seo… O ntenne monna, ao!!! Naya batho di-key, otla duelwa, botsogo jwa bana bo mo diphatseng kana!


nnyaya o dirile sentle , mazimbabwe ba tlhola ba re tlhantholla meriri ha re gana go ba duela. ka gore ba bo go le maswe ba batla ditsa bone. Goromente ke ene a sa tsayang monna sentle. Goromente o ntenne

cum on Mr Ncayagae pay the stupid painter for the sake of the students. How would we achieve the vision 2016 if we still have cases like this. le wena tlhe o motsadi busa di key o itsheke ka fa molaong. kana wa bo o sena ngwana?


ao! mr contractor. wat do u think courts are made for? open up for those kids and claim thru the courts. le lona ba Goodhope Council tota le tlhabisa ditlhong. le sokodisa bana waitse. tota le a bo le tlhophelwang?? go ikgorisa le losi? le palelwa ke go duela ree yoo wa modimo a golole bana!!

Tips 2010

tlogela tonki eo ka dikey tsa yone re ntshe diloko re tsenye tse eng asa ye court atla a duelwa ka bonako gona le go re bolaela bana jaana.


Thumbs up 2 da guy yoo ganang ka dikey….Goromente o tletse toilet… nagana gore monna yo o ja eng ene?????if the kids get sick its da administration`s fault,yo monna wa moduimo gaa lwe le bana o lwa le ba ba mo kolotang!!!