A fight over toilets is simmering at Khayelitsha’s YAB informal settlement.Last year the City of Cape Town asked residents to identify land where new toilets for the community could be situated, and an open space next to Vaphi Street was identified.
But when city contractors tried to install ten new flush toilets there five weeks ago, residents living in formal houses in nearby Y-Section, chased them away.
The problem was that residents who live in houses in Y-Section on the other side of Vaphi Street close to the space identified for the toilets, don’t want them there.
“The toilets were close to my house,” said Malixole Gabuze, “I don’t have a problem with toilets but I know for a fact that they’re not going to clean them.”
Gabuze said he would end up having stinking toilets near his front door and he would fight against that.
“The city must look for another place, not next to my house,” he said.
Another man living near where the toilets were to be installsed, Wiseman Ndabazandile, said the space where the city planned to install the toilets was used for meetings.
“No-one has a right to put toilets in other peoples’ street. We’re using this space to attend our meetings. We don’t know who gave them permission but we were not consulted about this,” said Ndabazandile.
YAB residents committee chairperson Unathi Mabengwana, said the city had asked residents to identify land where they could install toilets.
“I really don’t understand why these people are opposing us saying the land belongs to them. They know we are in need of toilets,” said Mabengwana.
He said the residents committee had been “begging” the people staying near Vaphi Street but “they refuse to listen”.
“They’re calling us names, swearing and saying we are messy people (ixelegu) because we live in an informal settlement.”
Y-Section residents’ committee chairperson Zabamna Stefanisi, said: “Those toilets will be next to our houses and they’re going to affect our children’s health. They can’t just put toilets next to our street.”
City spokesperson Kylie Hatton said the city was “investigating the incident”. – Nombulelo Damba, West Cape News