Equine club to upgrade facilities after dirty loos episode

2014-07-25 00:00

AN outcry over sewage-flooded staff toilets at a plush equine club has led to a promise of an upgrade by the facility management.

Pictures showing the poor facilities at the Durban Shongweni Club were circulating on social media yesterday, drawing angry responses from competitors at this weekend’s SA Dressage Championship.

But it appears the shoddy state of the staff loos is nothing new, with the KZN equestrian fraternity claiming they have raised the matter “several times”.

Yesterday The Witness reported the grooms working at the SA Dressage Championship were expected to use shower and toilet facilities — usually used by grounds staff at the club — despite puddles of human excrement lying on the floor.

Now the club’s chairperson, Anton Mostert, has committed to “urgently” upgrading the staff ablutions within the next month. He maintained the state of the loos was the result of vandalism and crime.

Gauteng-based horse exporter Candice Hobday, who hired portable loos at her own expense, said this points to a wider issue of care for grooms.

“The wellbeing of the groom depends on the owner of the horses. Some owners take very good care of their groom but others don’t,” said Hobday.

She said after The Witness article the ablution block was “completely cleaned and swept”.

But a former KwaZulu-Natal Horse Society executive member, who asked not to be named, said the toilet issue has been “ongoing for years”.

“The article caused quite a stink at the club. The state of the grooms’ facilities … has never been made a priority.”

Mostert said the ablutions were upgraded two years ago with geysers being installed and just years prior they still had a “long drop system”.

“We are not going to ignore this. We will have the ablutions ready in about two weeks when we host the Showjumping Championship of South Africa,” said Mostert.

He said the club recently hosted the Nissan Winter Classic, attracting over 540 horses, in June and had “no complaints” about the grooms’ facilities.

“It was unfortunate that the loos overflowed. But the loos had been stuffed with newspaper. This issue has been blown out of proportion …”

• In September the club will be hosting a Test in the BMW International Polo Series against the U.S.

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