The Commission for Gender Equality’s Commissioner Dibeela Mothupi and Free State Provincial Manager Samantha Britz paid an oversight visit to Seithati Primary School in Botshabelo, Bloemfontein, to assess the school’s response to gender equality issues. The CGE assessed issues such as accommodation for learners and parents with disabilities, the school’s handling of incidents of abuse, physical violence, sexual assaults as well as health issues that range from availability of sanitary towels to other hygiene provisions. The visit was part of the CGE’s Back To School monitoring campaign, which is being rolled out in four provinces across the country.
Commissioner Mothupi and Samantha had a question session with Seithati Primary School Educators and Principal Redmond Kwababa on how the school is responding to issues such as having condom dispenser in the school, sanitary towels for learners, the safety of learners and teachers, reports of verbal, physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. In a meeting with educators Lonaite Gabaitsiwe and Mpakade Moses, and Principal Redmond Kwababa, the CGE also enquired on the school’s handling of learner pregnancies and safety of learners and teachers, “We have so much support from the community, they make sure that learners arrive safely at school and also ensure that we are safe as teachers, parents play a big role in this school, and we are thankful for that”, said Mpakade and Gabaitsiwe.
Commissioner Mothupi expressed concern about some of the issues she observed after a tour of the school premises, “Learners’ bathrooms in the foundation phase had water leaks and some toilets and basin taps are not working ” she said. Mothupi applauded the school for classroom cleanliness and its efficient feeding scheme, which is provided by a private food company Tiger Brands. Kwababa said they won the feeding scheme in a schools’ cleanliness competition. “The feeding scheme is helping a lot, we have learners coming from disadvantaged families who are able to have breakfast and lunch at school and when there is food surplus, we give them to take home for supper” he said.