Leaders’ dispute leaves a foul smell

2016-01-28 06:00
 A Barcelona resident hurls plastic containers filled with faeces at passing cars                    PHOTO: GROUND-UP

A Barcelona resident hurls plastic containers filled with faeces at passing cars PHOTO: GROUND-UP

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Protests broke out again last Thursday on the N2 next to Barcelona informal settlement.

Residents said they were furious that their portable and communal toilets have been left attended for weeks.

Residents have been throwing their sewage into a stream that runs alongside the N2. And when they protest, they have been throwing it onto the national road itself.

Mongami Mbilie, who is also a community leader, said that both the portable toilets and the communal toilets in Barcelona have not been cleaned since December 31.

Last Thursday, residents emptied the contents of a communal toilet into large plastic bags and carried it to the side of the N2.

Some threw the packets onto the road.

The GroundUp team saw a toilet that was supposed to service three homes, but was overflowing and crawling with maggots.

Last week, Ground-Up reported that there was a dispute over who should be employed to clean the toilets, with residents claiming that the ward councillor Mzwakhe Nqavashe had altered the list of people who had been selected.

Nqavashe then said that the people selected to clean the toilets were selected randomly from a database.

Community leader Mpintshi Tafana refuted this claim, saying that there have been two different lists. The community was happy with the first list that was handed over two weeks ago but the new list that they were given last week contained a different list of names, with only a few names appearing on both lists.

He said that the community wasn’t told why there was a new list.

“All of a sudden he [Nqavashe] came and changed the list,” Mbilie said.

Mbilie said that Nqavashe was the main person who was delaying the process of cleaning the toilets. He added that Nqavashe was “totally different” to previous councillors.

In response, Nqavashe said that the first list was randomly generated and then taken to the community for comment to see whether everyone on it still qualified for the job.

He said that there were complaints with the list, meaning that some people on it didn’t qualify anymore. A new list was then compiled.

Nqavashe said that there were two factions in Barcelona “fighting for power”.

Due to complaints with the second list he said that he will be speaking to the residents to sort the issue out.

Mbilie explained that “residents empty [the toilets] in the canal and some of them dig holes.”

“It is terrible. There are all these maggots. You can’t even sit on the toilet. Some of the toilets are close to the houses and you can see it [the sewerage] running into the house. It’s not good because of this heat as well.

If you clean it yourself it only lasts two days before the maggots come. And for the children’s sake it is also not right,” he said.

The stream into which residents throw their sewerage is also by an area where children often play and livestock come to graze. We saw a cow grazing along the stream.

Resident Vuyiswa Mkendla said that the situation was “very bad” and that she had to use all sorts of cleaning agents to clean her toilet, which was expensive.


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