News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Sunday September 15th 2019

No toilets for Siyahlala residents

Residents at Siyahlala informal settlement in Du Noon have no toilets and are forced to defecate in the bushes. Photo: Peter Luhanga/WCN


A foul stench hangs over Du Noon’s Siyahlala informal settlement as human faeces is discarded between shacks where children run and play.

The faeces is due to the fact that the informal settlement, home to about 1 000 residents, has no toilets.

Residents either defecate in the nearby bushes along the N7 or at night they relieve themselves in a bucket or plastic bag which they dump in the morning.

As a result, the bushes surrounding the settlement are filled with human faeces.

There is also only one water standpipe for the residents and community leader Thokoza Xamlashe, 40, who has lived in the settlement since 2004, says that on some days there is no water in the tap.

She said the informal settlement was filthy as residents lacked the most basic of municipal services.

“We use buckets at night and go empty them near the N7 in the morning,” said resident Nomawethu Mtshilwane, 24, a mother of three children aged one, five and seven.

Nombase Siyange, 26, a mother of two children aged three and seven said their living conditions in the informal settlement were terrible.

Siyange said she was taking care of her ailing 65-year-old mother who had difficulty in walking and she had to help her hobble to the bushes so she could relieve herself.

She said in the bushes there was no available space to defecate, residents had to step on fresh faeces and defecate on top of old faeces.

“It’s stinking (the informal settlement) even the bushes we go to defecate is full. We step on faeces. We defecate on top of other faeces,” said Siyange, “we have no choice.”

Community leader Thulani Madokwe said the city had promised to provide them with porta-potties but residents refused because they were just the same as defecating in a polythene plastic bag or a bucket.

“We don’t want those toilets (Porta-potties).  There is no difference in using Porta-potties and using plastic bags and buckets. The city is undermining us,” said Madokwe.

He said residents had made it clear that they wanted flush toilets.

Mayoral Committee Member for Human Settlements Ernest Sonnenberg said the city is aware of the situation in Siyahlala.

However, Sonnenberg said the land in question is privately owned by Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA).

“The City of Cape Town is therefore not allowed, according to the rules of the MFMA (Municipal Finance Management Act), to use capital funding on private land,” said Sonnenberg. — Peter Luhanga

Tags: Ernest Sonnenberg, MFMA (Municipal Finance Management Act), Nomawethu Mtshilwane, Nombase Siyange, Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA), Siyahlala informal settlement, Thokoza Xamlashe, Thulani Madokwe

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