Hostels of Shame
THOUSANDS of pupils living in Eastern Cape state schools hostels are exposed to conditions worse than those experienced by prison inmates, putting their lives at risk almost daily.
This was the finding of a two-month long investigation by the Daily Dispatch prompted by provincial portfolio committee chairman on education Mzoleli Mrara who last year said “prisons are far better than these [state] hostels”.
The Dispatch visited hostels in 15 of the 23 education districts across the province and discovered that:
Girl boarders are often placed at risk due to non-existent security
Hundreds of Eastern Cape boarders have been treated for food poisoning in the past five years;
In at least one case up to 10 boarders were crammed into a room meant for four;
At another hostel boarders were left unsupervised after school hours;
“Hostels” often consist of nothing more than containers;
Many state hostels still lack basic facilities such as tap water, flush toilets, perimeter fencing, security, emergency medical kits, television sets, leisure rooms, study areas, and telephones; and
Dieticians, health inspectors, doctors, medical practitioners, psychologists and counsellors were not provided despite the fact they should be made available when required.
Government does, however, provide these services for inmates at 44 correctional centres in the Eastern Cape. [Read more]