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Social Media Post Leads to Rapid Elimination of Pit Toilets in KZN School within 3 Months



KZN schools' pit toilets

Former SA Post Office CEO and investment banker Mark Barnes has made a significant pledge on Twitter to address the issue of KZN schools’ pit toilets. According to News24, this commitment has already resulted in eradicating pit toilets at a school that had never had flushing toilets since its establishment in 1913. Inspired by Barnes’ challenge, Breadline Africa, a non-profit organisation focused on educational infrastructure, has joined forces with him to extend this initiative to 240 schools in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.

Barnes, a corporate figurehead and vocal advocate, took to Twitter on 27 March to express his belief that pit toilets have no place in South Africa. He pledged R100,000 of his own money to tackle this pressing issue. His post caught the attention of Breadline Africa, an organisation dedicated to poverty relief by providing educational infrastructure.

In an official ceremony, Umsunduze Primary School in Ndwedwe, KwaZulu-Natal, received flushing toilets for the first time since its inception in 1913, marking a remarkable milestone after 110 years. Through the collaborative efforts of Breadline Africa, the KZN Education Development Trust, and committed stakeholders led by Barnes, the school now boasts 18 modern low-flush toilets connected to a septic tank, replacing the previously appalling ten pit toilets.


Buoyed by this success, Breadline Africa and its partners aim to raise R156 million for the ambitious project. The focus will be on 240 schools in the most affected regions of KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape. The goal is to replace 4,000 unsafe pit toilets, benefiting approximately 120,000 children. If achieved, this initiative would address 26% of the around 908 schools still burdened with pit toilets in South Africa.

Also read: 300 Schools to Benefit from Free Internet Access

In an interview with News24, Barnes stressed that toilet use should be a manageable experience, especially for young children. He sees this initiative as building toilets and restoring dignity to individuals. By eliminating anxiety and fear associated with using inadequate facilities, the focus can shift to education and learning.

Barnes believes personalising problems in South Africa is essential to achieving true equality. He pointed out that individuals’ dignity in their daily activities varies significantly in the country. By addressing fundamental issues like toilet facilities, attitudes can change, and children can focus on their education rather than fear hindering them.

Reflecting on the project’s progress, Barnes commended the speed at which it has developed, from his initial Twitter post to the official opening of the new toilets. He emphasised the importance of starting from the bottom and empowering communities. In his view, solutions in South Africa should come from the grassroots level, lifting individuals and communities rather than relying solely on top-down approaches.


Barnes expressed concerns about the country’s state, stating that South Africa is close to a total collapse. He emphasised that real change will come through action and people taking the initiative rather than relying solely on policies and promises. Individuals can make a tangible impact and contribute to positive community transformation by addressing critical issues like pit toilets.

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Picture: Twitter / mark_barnes56

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