SERVICING a population of more than 600 000, there is a shortage of municipal public toilets in the city and outskirts. Council noted recently that the toilets at community sports facilities and halls have deteriorated and lack maintenance due to vandalism. In 2014 the Msunduzi Municipality’s Executive Committee (Exco) noted that using public toilets cost R2 per person and that the pay-and-use toilet system will curb people from abusing and vandalising municipal toilets. This project was scheduled to be implemented at the Publicity House public toilets. It is still not clear if this project will ever see the light of day. When Echo inspected the Publicity House public toilets recently the gates were locked and a notice outside the premises read, “ public toilets have been moved to the new taxi rank”. The new taxi rank in question is the Freedom Square Taxi rank. The Publicity House toilets service tourists, residents and motorists. These toilets have been closed for more than two years. With the Publicity House toilets permanently closed, residents are irate and wonder if moving the toilets to the Freedom Square Taxi Rank was a well calculated move. As it stands the Publicity House receives an influx of residents and tourists who use their ablution facilities. Rick Mkhize, who sells fruit said that whenever he needs the toilet he travels from Chapel Street to the Freedom Square taxi rank. “There is a serious lack of toilets in the city. This affects informal traders and the public,” he said. The other public toilets are far from the CBD and are placed at various taxi ranks, including the Retief Street taxi rank, Masukwana taxi rank and Imbali taxi rank. This issue was brought up during the recent executive seating at the city hall. Councillor Judith Lawrence said: “Nobody knows who should be looking after them. There is a chronic shortage of toilets in the city. Central toilets have been permanently closed for a year and this is not acceptable. We have a lot of people in town who need these facilities. The public is being inconvenienced.” Lawrence’s statement is backed by a report from community services business which states that the department responsible for the maintenance of the public toilets is unknown. The report on the state of public toilets reads: ‘This is strictly not a solid waste management function by any standards, but is lumped with waste management for some obscure historical reason. While the business unit will handle the function, thought must be given to placing this function within its rightful home under transportation, since it serves mainly transportation customers.” The Msunduzi Mayor Chris Ndlela urged the community services business unit to compile a report on all public toilets. “Let us agree that the condition of all public toilets will have to be presented,” he said.