News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Sunday February 17th 2019

‘We’re sick of porta-potties’

Resident's€™ Committee member Sheila Selane sits on the porta-potty outside her home, she says they start to stink if the city does not come empty them and residents have to put them outside their shacks because its unhealthy to have them inside. Photo: Nombulelo Damba/WCN

Residents of Khayelitsha Mzomhle in RR section say they are fed up with waiting for toilets promised by the city five years ago. Residents of the 393 shacks in Mzomhle have been using porta-potties supplied by the city since 2005. Before that they had to relieve themselves on an open field next to the squatter camp.The residents when the porta-potties – which the city supposed to empty out twice a week – were introduced it was suppose to be temporary but they’re still stuck with them and they say sometimes the city even neglects to collect them for three weeks.

Community member Nomvula Mathe, 50, said she’s been living in Mzomhle for 22 years.

“The city made lots of promises but none of them came true.”

The hated porta-pottie. Photo: Nombulelo Damba/WCNShe said she hated the porta-potties so much she’s gone back to using an open field. “I told them to take it away because they stopped giving us chemicals to clean them, some times they don’t even pick them up.

“Imagine you’re cooking in the kitchen with the smell coming from your bed room. I would rather use the field than stay in a smelling house,” she said.

Another resident, Fezeka Mfamane, who is a mother of eight children, said eating food with a full porta-pottie inside the house was unhealthy.

“People are getting sick in this area because of this system.”

Residents’ Committee member Sheila Selane said residents in the 393 shacks were using the porta-potties and she was one of them.

“On the 18th of May the city promised to build new toilets and put in more taps but we’re still waiting. I always advise people to put the buckets (porta-potties) next to their house even though it’s not safe (to go outside to use them) at night.”

Selane said people kept complaining about the system. “But I don’t know what to tell them any more because I kept on promising them that the city is going fix it but nothing is happening.”

Ward councillor Elsie Kwayinto said the bucket system had nothing to do with her as ward councillor.

She said the city planned to build toilets for the community but that meant some of the shacks needed to be moved because they were built on top of the drains but the owners refused to move.

Kwayinto said once the residents got tired of using the porta-potties they might decide to move their shacks so toilets could be built.

Acting executive director of city utility services, Philemon Mashoko, said additionally to the porta-potties, the city had installed 100 chemical toilets and 129 full-flush toilets in the area.

Mashoko said the area was densely populated and people would have to move their homes in order for more full-flush toilets to be installed.

“Insufficient space and servitudes in an informal settlement make it difficult to construct and install waterborne sanitation,” he said.

The solution to this was to upgrade all settlements, something the city was “rolling out”. – Nombulelo Damba, West Cape News

Tags: DA, informal settlement, Khayelitsha, porta potties, sanitation, shacks, toilets

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