News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Wednesday June 26th 2019

City ordered to erect zinc toilet enclosures

The handful of Khayelitsha residents who were at the Cape High Court on Monday said they would not accept Judge Nathan Erasmus’s “disappointing” decision that the City of Cape Town must install zinc enclosures around the toilets they provided in the Makhaza area. The residents say they demand proper brick and mortar structures.Judge Erasmus handed down an interim order that “immediately” reinstall and reconnect 65 toilets in the Makhaza area and enclose the toilets with zinc and timber structures.

Yesterday’s provisional ruling was the latest development in the long-running saga over the provision of flush toilets to Khayelitsha residents.

The city in January claimed it reached an agreement with residents to install one toilet per property on 1 316 stands in 2007, for which residents would build their own enclosures.

But 51 toilets were left uncovered as residents could not afford their own building materials the ANC Youth Leage laid a formal complaint with the South African Human Rights Commission accusing the city of violating people’s dignity.

The city then zinc enclosures which ANC Youth League members and residents broke down, following which the city disconnected and removed the toilets completely.

But Erasmus, following a site inspection last week Thursday, ruled the toilets should be reinstalled with zinc enclosures.

Erasmus said the toilets enclosures must not be less than 2.5 meters high, 1.5 meters deep and one metre wide, specifications that will cost the city R2800 per unit.

The City was ordered to report back on the steps they had taken in this regard by December 23.

Any proposal to an alternative structure must be agreed on by no later than December 16, failing to do so the City would be obliged to immediately proceed with the installation of the galvanised iron and wood strucures in respect of all affected residents.

By December 9, the City must hand deliver a written notice asking the residents to indicate by means of a cross whether or not they accept a zinc structure.

Outside court, community leader Andile Lili, who is also an applicant in this case, said although they welcomed the court’s decision, he was “frustrated and disappointed” that the court ordered the erection of zinc enclosures.

“It is inhumane for the judge to agree with the government. People on the ground will not accept the decision,” he said.

Lawyer for the applicants, Njabulo Masuku, welcomed the court’s decision but said there were still “aspects that we are concerned about”.

He said he had thought the court would order the city to build concrete or brick and mortar structures for the Makhaza residents.

The main application and the review application brought by the city were postponed for hearing until February next year.

In a statement the City welcomed the interim order on the matter.

“This is what the City has always sought to do and attempted to do previously. The City has always sought to resolve this matter amicably and without conflict.

“The City has repeatedly made the offer to the community that it is willing to re-install and enclose the 65 toilets removed from the area,” the statement read. – Sandiso Phaliso, West Cape News

Tags: ANC, anc youth league, cape high court, cape town, City of Cape Town, DA, Khayelitsha, Makhaza, south african human rights commission, toilets

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