SAHRC happy with toilet progress

2012-10-18 14:36
A resident of Ramalotsi near Viljoenskroon washes clothes on top of an open toilet. (Nicolene Olckers, Beeld)

A resident of Ramalotsi near Viljoenskroon washes clothes on top of an open toilet. (Nicolene Olckers, Beeld)

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Johannesburg - The SA Human Rights Commission is satisfied with the progress made in fixing uncovered toilets in the Rammolutsi township in the Free State.

"Significant progress has been made to enclose all toilets that were without top structures," spokesman Isaac Mangena said in a statement on Thursday.

As of July 2012, 1 831 structures in Rammolutsi had been completed, he said.

"The Moqhaka local municipality has been complying with the recommendations. This year, the SAHRC received two progress reports, in March and July 2012."

In September 2010, the residents of Rammolutsi Township near Viljoenskroon lodged a complaint with the SAHRC after the Moqhaka Local Municipality installed unenclosed toilets in the township.

Rights violated

The complaint was in light of the SAHRC investigation and findings on the similar situation in Makhaza in the City of Cape Town.

These communities had alleged their rights to human dignity, privacy, clean environment, housing and water had been violated.

In May last year, the SAHRC found that the municipality had indeed violated the community's rights.

"The provision of unenclosed toilets was not only contrary to the guidelines of the national housing code, but a violation of the residents' right to dignity," said Mangena.

He said the commission recommended the municipality urgently enclose all toilets and give progress at least every six months on water and sanitation in the township.

While progress had been made, the municipality indicated it had experienced challenges in funding.

Reconstruction costs

Communities had demolished existing structures and there had been a national strike in the engineering sector.

The municipality also conducted an audit of the sanitation systems and found that 2 293 still needed complete structures, he said.

The cost of reconstruction was estimated to about R17m.

The next progress report was due in January 2013.

In 2010, the Democratic Alliance became embroiled in a political storm for failing to enclose more than 1 300 toilets in Makhaza.

After a long legal battle, the Cape Town city council on Monday began building structures around the toilets.
- SAPA
Read more on:    cape town  |  bloemfontein  |  open toilets  |  service delivery
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