Residents welcome Zanele Magwazas

2013-06-02 14:00

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Since she first became mayor of Zululand, Zanele Magwaza-Msibi has built so many stand-alone toilets for the close on 1?million residents of the district municipality that they are now known as “Zanele Magwazas”.

During a visit to the district, residents in several villages around Ulundi and Nongoma spoke about the toilets – set away from their houses and with chimneys to eliminate the smell.

Last month, Magwaza-Msibi opened a major toilet project at KwaNcube near Pongola, where more than 1?000 of them, with their 10-year pit life spans, are being built for residents of Godlwayo, Mapophe and Thengizwe villages.

The sewage-reticulation backlog for the 800 villages scattered throughout Zululand, which surround the towns of Ulundi, Nongoma, eDumbe, Vryheid and Pongola, stands at around 1.2?billion litres, or 94?000 households.

The distance between houses and between villages, combined with the hilly terrain and lack of natural water, makes fitting piped sewerage far too costly.

Instead, residents are being given modified and relatively hygienic pit toilets.

At Canaan, a village on the road between Nongoma and Hlabisa, residents are still drawing water from the stinking borehole they were using on the eve of the 2011 local government elections.

But they are happy they now have toilets built for them by the municipality, something they were promised by all three parties contesting the elections – the IFP, National Freedom Party and ANC – in 2011.

“We are still waiting for water here,” says Philani Njoko (18), who is rewriting his Grade 12 exams this year.

“It’s bad, but we can drink it without getting sick because we are used to it. At least we have Zanele Magwazas now.

They are clean and smell better. We have been promised water, but we know we are going to have to wait for it. We have electricity and toilets now,” he says.

Will he vote next year?

“I will, because I think it will get more things for this place.” Neighbour Hlengiwe Mncwango says: “The toilets are much better. Now we need water.”

Details of how many toilets have been built since 2011, when Magwaza-Msibi’s term began, were not available at the time of writing.

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