ANC’s open toilet shame

2010-07-11 10:48

The ANC is facing its own open-toilet scandal a few days after ­Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs ­Minister Sicelo Shiceka said it was a Cape Town phenomenon which would never happen ­under ANC ­governance.

Now, a new toilet saga is ­bubbling in Viljoenskroon’s ­Rammulotsi township in the ANC-run Moqhaka municipality, which includes much of northern Free State and is based in the town of Kroonstad.

When visiting Rammulotsi last week, City Press’ sister paper Rapport encountered one open toilet after another. Some of the toilets were built as long ago as 2001 but were never enclosed by the municipality.

A week ago, during a visit to Khayelitsha’s infamous open ­toilets, Shiceka claimed such things only happened in the ­Western Cape, not in the rest of the country.

He said: “It is a Cape Town phenomenon, which to me is ­surprising and strange.”

In the Khayelitsha case, the Human Rights Commission found the DA-run City of Cape Town had undermined the ­dignity of residents by ­building open toilets.

Malefu Thato, who lives in Moqhaka ward 19, says the toilet in a corner of her back garden was erected in 2003 but the council never put up a wall or roof.

Her family has reverted to the pit latrine erected by the ­apartheid government.

The same goes for Paulina Tonyane (74). She personally ­ensured that her open flushing toilet was disconnected because it was a magnet for the neighbourhood’s small children, who use the toilets incessantly.

Her family has also started ­reusing their old pit latrine.

She said: “To use the pit latrine is really not safe, especially to those of us with small children in the family. Even Zuma promised us long ago that we would get ­enclosed toilets.”

Especially problematic are the ­circumstances of families whose plots border that of the mayor, Mantebo Mokgosi.

Two of the mayor’s immediate ­neighbours, both elderly women, have open ­toilets.

One of them is Oumakie ­Boholeng. Her open flushing ­toilet is situated 10m from her home.

She tried to partially cover it with corrugated iron but fears the structure will ­collapse ­completely in time, causing ­injury.

When asked for comment on the situation in Moqhaka ­municipality, Shiceka refused to be drawn into the matter, stating that ­national building norms for ­sanitation provision do not ­include open toilets.

The minister merely stated that norms and standards for ­acceptable sanitary provisions must be developed urgently.

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