CAPE TOWN – Following a campaign in Constantia on Monday, the Ses’khona People’s Rights Movement today (Wed) took their protest against the delivery of portable flush toilets – known as porta-pottis – to Bishopscourt.
The protesters are taking the empty porta potties to affluent suburbs in a bid to get support for their demands for better sanitation.
Armed with porta potties and a questionnaire, Ses’khona volunteers from Mitchell’s Plain said maybe it’s time they’re allowed to live in the suburbs.
But protesters weren’t in Bishopscourt long before ADT security was called, and proceeded to accompany them as the walked along the streets ringing buzzers in a bid to get residents to speak to them.
The door-to-door campaign, which comes in the wake of poo protests in which faeces was poured on the steps of the provincial legislature and at the Cape Town International Airport last year, is taking place a few weeks after former police commissioner Bheki Cele encourage the poo protesters to continue with their efforts to highlight sanitation issues in informal settlements.
Protesters had a tough time yesterday. Other than at Anglican Archbishop Thabo Makgoba’s residence, not a single Bishopscourt resident took the time to engage with them, only people working in the suburb showed any interest.
Nanny Sybile Johanes said she did not think porta-potties were the right solution for informal settlements. She said people deserve better service.
While the volunteers from Mitchell’s Plain do not have to use porta-potties themselves, they say they have joined the campaign in solidarity with informal settlement residents.
Volunteer Verdie Magerman said she strongly believe no one should have to use a porta-potti..
“This thing has no dignity, I can’t imagine how our people are living with this, hence I’m here just to show the madams what kind of toilets our people are using,” said Magerman.
“We only want their (Bishopscourt residents) view, what they think of the service delivery the city of Cape Town is giving to us,” she said.
Mitchell’s Plain backyarder Christal Booysen, a mother of four, said she’s not using a porta-pottie toilet, but she’s using a bucket.
Booysen said it was her first time in Bishopscourt and she couldn’t believe what she saw.
“These people are living a nice life. Look at the space, how many houses I can build here in one yard,” she said.
Booysen said she joined Seskhona after visiting Khayelitsha one day. “I do not live better as a backyarder but what I smelled in Khayelitsha was so unbearable. Imagine how it feels to live like that,” she said.
Yanga Mjingwana from Harare in Khayelitsha said by doing a door-to-door campaign they hope maybe one good Samaritan will come to their rescure.
“We know these people have money, maybe if we continue like this one of them will finally see the pain we are living in at our areas,” said Mjingwana.
The last stop was at the Archbishop Thabo Makgoba’s residence where Reverend Magaret Heyns came out to meet them.
“It is not fair our people have to live like this, government should provide a proper sanitation. Every person has a right to have a proper sanitation. I have hope and faith that in the next ten years there will be fewer differences between rich and poor,” said Heyns.
She added that 20 years of democracy has brought much improvement in South Africa but there’s room for more.
Heyns invited the protestors into the Archbishop’s residence for tea, but they politely declined. Protesters have vowed to continue with their door-to-door campaign in other suburban areas. – West Cape News