SAHRC to meet De Lille over toilet issue

2013-06-08 08:00
(Picture: Sapa)

(Picture: Sapa)

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Johannesburg - The SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) will meet Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille to discuss sanitation issues, it said on Friday.

"The commission has... decided to take immediate steps to address the current crisis by firstly engaging with the mayor's office," said spokesperson Isaac Mangena.

"The commission will also engage with national, provincial and local government, as well as the Public Protector and civil society organisations to intervene in this matter."

On Wednesday, De Lille called on the SAHRC to help the city educate residents in informal settlements about the benefits of portable flush toilets (PFTs).

Mangena said the SAHRC had a specific mandate.

"Having received complaints from communities arising from government service delivery choices, it would be inappropriate and contrary to its legal mandate to participate or endorse government programmes, which are the subject of a complaint," Mangena said.

He said the SAHRC had received complaints from residents about PFTs.

"They argue that these alternatives pose similar challenges as the current bucket system, and may continue to pose health risks and violate the dignity of users," Mangena said.

"The commission wishes to emphasise that the eradication of the bucket system must be looked at nationally, and not only at a provincial level."

Sanitation facilities

Mangena said the SAHRC had conducted an on-site inspection in Gugulethu.

"The SAHRC observed that there were no proper sanitation facilities in some of the areas... and that community members reported that there had been no waste collection services since 2 April due to a strike by the city’s service provider, Sannicare," he said.

"This has resulted in an accumulation of waste which needs urgent attention and intervention."

De Lille said on Wednesday that communities were resisting the installation of PFTs.

"If we continue to receive resistance to our efforts in a community, the city will be obliged to move our focus to other areas where the initiatives are welcome," she told reporters.

On Tuesday a group of people in Khayelitsha threw human waste at a bus used by Western Cape Premier Helen Zille and others to travel to a green economy event.

Dumping faeces

Zille's spokesperson Zak Mbhele said several ANCYL members protested outside the event.

"Police that were stationed around the venue fired tear gas to disperse the mob," he said.

Police spokesperson Tembinkosi Kinana said two men, aged 23 and 26, were arrested for public violence.

On Monday, two men dumped human waste on the steps of the Western Cape legislature in a protest about portable toilets.

ANC councillor and youth league member Loyiso Nkohla, and former ANC councillor and banned league member Andile Lili told The Cape Argus it was a "warning" of things to come.

"We will return with thousands of these bucket toilets next week and empty them around the legislature building," Lili was quoted as saying.

"We were ready to be arrested and will die for this."

Last month, former Sannicare janitors, who were responsible for cleaning communal toilets, blocked a part of the N2 highway with burning tyres, and dumped faeces on the road.

They were protesting against being dismissed after demanding they be paid the equivalent of a 16-hour work day, which Sannicare rejected, saying it was against labour legislation.

- SAPA

Read more on:    sahrc  |  anc  |  ancyl  |  patricia de lille  |  helen zille  |  cape town  |  health
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