The family of five-year-old Michael Komape - who drowned in a pit latrine at his school in Moltjie Chebeng in Limpopo - has won their battle against the education department to provide safe and dignified toilets for schools in the district.
The Limpopo High Court in Polokwane ruled in their favor on Friday and ordered the Limpopo Department of Education to abolish pit latrines in schools.
More than 1,400 schools in nine provinces still use pit latrines.
The court ordered the state to provide a list of all schools with pit latrines within 90 days, as well as plans to eliminate them.
The Section 27 legal team, which has been legally supporting the family since Michael's death seven years ago, took the education department to court to continue the struggle for clean, comfortable toilets in Limpopo.
Provincial and national education departments have indicated that all schools in Limpopo will have flush toilets by 2028 to 2030.
Michael's father, James Komape, who attended all court cases with his wife, told Scrolla.Africa that they were happy with the decision because it meant no students would die at school like Michael.
"We are shocked by the number of schools still using pit latrines in the province, and if the courts have to go to force the department to do so, so be it," Komape said.
Section 27 welcomed the decision and said in a statement that it was a guarantee of the rights of Limpopo students to have safe and dignified pit latrines.
In 2019 the Supreme Court of Appeal granted Michael's family more than $ 1 million in damages.
The Limpopo High Court had earlier rejected the family's application because of the family's grief and emotional turmoil.
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