‘We are tired of empty promises’

2019-07-03 06:00
PHOTOS: LETHIWE MAKHANYAOne of the toilets that is being used by the Slangspruit community.

PHOTOS: LETHIWE MAKHANYAOne of the toilets that is being used by the Slangspruit community.

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DENMARK and Slangspruit residents under Ward 13 have vowed that they will not stop protesting until they have the details and timeline of a sewerage and sanitation project down in writing.

Residents blockaded the road on Monday and Tuesday with burning tyres and bottles, demanding development in their areas.

They are currently using pit toilets which they made themselves, however they said this is no longer an option as the toilets are full and some are dangerous to use because they can collapse at anytime.

One resident who spoke to Echo anonymously said the municipality does not even send a honeysucker to the area to remove the waste for them.

“The whole area is stinking because of these toilets. The municipality has been making empty promises and lying to us about trying to solve this problem. We are tired. Last month, when we protested for the same thing, Msunduzi Municipality Mayor Themba Njilo came here and took our memorandum of demands. He promised to come back with answers but that never happened,” said the angry resident.

Another resident said they have been patient enough with the municipality, now they refuse to engage with them any further; they want KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala to attend to the matter.

“We have been trying to engage with the municipality and we have been patient with them for so long. That ends here — we are tired. If they do not give us what we want, we will not stop protesting.

“Not so long ago we were told of a project that entailed the construction of proper pit toilets for us. We then suggested that they [municipality] convert that project into a sewer and sanitation project so that we can have flushing toilets. They said they are going to meet and discuss it. When we went back to enquire, we were told that we said we do not want the project? When did we say that? They are making us fools because they want to steal this money for this project,” he said.

Some residents say worms have infested their yards because of the toilets. Others say they have to use their neighbours’ toilets because theirs are full of waste.

“I share a toilet with my neighbour — it is not right but I do not have a choice. The toilet that we have is over 20 years old and it is full now.

“We are neglected in this area yet the struggle fighter Moses Mabhida is from this area. The least they can do to respect and honour him is to develop this area. We are not asking for much, we just want basic needs, like toilets and houses.”

On Monday, Msunduzi speaker Jabu Ngubo addressed the residents, telling them that they have given the city manager and administrator permission to go out and look for private sponsors so that they can attend to these issues. She said this decision was taken at a full council meeting.

“We need a lot of money to solve these issues because this is not the only area that has them. With the budget that the municipality has we cannot cover all the issues, it will take about six years, and that is why we have agreed that we need to source private investors,” she said.

The speaker added that the pit toilet project was put on hold because the municipality did not have the power to convert it since the money that was allocated for it was sourced from outside the municipality.

“We know that you are angry but please be patient with us. Just because we don’t come to the areas to address you regularly doesn’t mean that we are not attending to your issues. In the meantime, we are going to work on a temporal solution of sending honeysuckers to remove waste.”

The community, however, was not impressed as they accused the municipality of “always lying” to them to stop them from protesting. They said that until they have something in writing about the commencement of the project, they will not stop protesting.

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