Overflowing sewerage could force school to close

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Onesi

Onesi Secondary School in Omusati faces temporary closure if a non-functioning sewerage pump at the school is not repaired or replaced with immediate effect, as the overflowing sewerage has become a major health hazard.

These were the words of Simeon Kavila, the principal of Onesi Secondary School, which has been flooded by sewerage water, a situation, he says, that poses a serious health risk to learners and teachers.

During a surprise visit to the school on Wednesday Governor of the Omusati Region Erginus Endjala saw most of the school, including the boys’ and girls’ hostels, kitchen and dining hall, literally under sewerage water, leaving learners stranded without proper ablution facilities.

Principal Kavila indicated that the situation was caused by a non-functioning sewerage pump at the school, despite numerous reports to the maintenance division at the Ministry of Works to come repair it.

According to him, plans are underway to search for a place outside the school premises to temporarily relocate some of the learners to.
If the relocation plan fails, he says, the school would be left with no option but to temporarily send the about 743 affected learners home.

“We’re trying very hard to do everything we can to contain the situation to avoid sending the learners back home and to only come back around May, a situation which may cause the learners to miss out a lot,” he said.

Endjala expressed shock at the fact that the situation was left unattended for so long, and lashed out at government officials, who are tasked with conducting routine maintenance on government properties, for their incompetence.

“I hear this is a recurring situation almost every year, but people just come and compile fake reports indicating that the work is done, but it is not. This has to stop,” he said.

Head of the maintenance division at the Ministry of Works in the Omusati Region Ngaijake Tjikuzu says the only solution to the recurring problem is the complete demolition of one of the worst affected hostel blocks and the re-design of a new sewerage reticulation system.

Governor Endjala called for a cross-sectorial approach from all stakeholders in the region, ranging from education, police and traditional authorities to come on board and assist the school and learners in any way possible.

* Lot Shikongo is an information officer in the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology in the Omusati Region.

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