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Tuesday October 17th 2017

Residents left without toilets following protests

A man from Town Two informal settlement crosses empty ground in the early morning in search of a place to relieve himself since the residents have had no toilets following protests six months ago. Photo: Nombulelo Damba/WCN

A man from Town Two informal settlement crosses empty ground in the early morning in search of a place to relieve himself since the residents have had no toilets following protests six months ago. Photo: Nombulelo Damba/WCN

13.02.2013

Over six months ago Town Two phase four informal settlement in SST Section, Khayelitsha experience days of service delivery protests during which people from other areas were bussed in and started burning the plastic chemical toilets for Town Two residents.

This led to altercations between Town Two resident protestors and protestors from other areas, with Town Two residents trying to prevent their toilets being burned on Lansdowne Road.

And although the protests took place in July 2012, Town Two residents have never had their toilets replaced, meaning that they are forced to relieve themselves on open ground near the informal settlement, use a plastic bag and dispose of their waste in rubbish bins, or if they are fortunate, use a friend’s toilet in the nearby RDP houses.

The only communal toilets available are flush toilets at an adjacent informal settlement but those toilets are now having to meet the demand of about 20 families per toilet, and are often blocked.

It is believed July 2012 protests were led by Progressive Youth Movement members, who lived in Mandela Park, Makhaya and some in a service area in SST.

Last year the City of Cape Town told residents that it is impossible to provide a toilet for each individual plot of land, as is provided to those living in Town Two Phase 1 as the Phase 4 residents live on a road reserve.

The City officials suggested that communal flush toilets be built but tensions were still high and the officials ended up being locked inside the church where the meeting was taking place.

The same group of residents marched to ward councillor Amos Komeni’s house demanding he do something about the lack of toilets.

Town Two resident Theodora Luthuli, who also a PYM member, said, no one  seemed to understand their frustration.

“We made it very clear last year that we want decent toilets, we’re still saying the same. We do not care who helped burning the toilets, the fact is those toilets were not good for our health,” said Luthuli.

He said there were residents suffering from tuberculosis and the lack of hygiene aggravated their illness.

He said although City of Cape Town Mayor was in Khayelitsha talking about lighting on Monday night, Town Two residents had been waiting for answers on the issue of toilets for the past six months.

“We told them that we do not care about lights but we want toilets,” said Luthuli

Ward 93 councillor Amos Komeni, said a flush toilet for each resident was not possible.

“These people need to be relocated to some other areas, all the City can do now is to look for a space to add flush toilets for them to share,” he said.

“The problem that we are facing here is that the people who really need the toilets were not part of the protest, it was this PYM organisation trying to achieve something.”

City of Cape Town, Mayoral Committee Member for Utility Services, Councillor Ernest Sonnenberg, said he has requested a full report on the settlement in order to determine what the current situation is and whether extra services could be provided.

“For this process to be completed, the cooperation of the community will be required. It must be reiterated that threatening of City officials, as has happened at previous community meetings – will not be tolerated,” said Sonnenberg.

He said the City has empathy for the current situation but, without cooperation, they cannot investigate ways to improve it. – Nombulelo Damba

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