LETTER: Let’s unite for toilet health

2016-03-15 06:00
 Sanitation continues to pose a health threat to Masiphumelele residents, writes Horst Kleinschmidt. PHOTO: Rose Milbank

Sanitation continues to pose a health threat to Masiphumelele residents, writes Horst Kleinschmidt. PHOTO: Rose Milbank

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Our valley is beautiful and we are all fortunate to live here. But there is another side, as the picture (taken on Monday 29 February) shows. That is what life is about when one is poor. The stormwater drains have become open stagnant sewers. The smell is dreadful.

The City of Cape Town aims for 25 people per toilet but in the “wetlands” it is over 80 people per toilet. This is based on 11 000 people living in that area, as opposed to outdated figures the officials use. At present there are only 137 toilets for this area. Many toilets are broken.

The sanitation situation has become a huge health risk.

We must all unite to ask that this situation be remedied urgently. This costs money, but let’s sit together as residents from throughout the valley to find solutions rather than point fingers.

Horst Kleinschmidt, Email

Response from Ernest Sonnenberg, Mayco member for utility services: The approximately 2040 households in Masiphumelele informal settlement are serviced by 222 toilets. This provision is in line with national guidelines.

The City would like to provide more toilets but, due to the density and legal constraints, the installation is not possible. The City has offered to roll out portable flush toilets and chemical toilets but this was blocked by community leadership.

Response from Brett Herron, Mayco member for transport: The local roads and stormwater depot of Transport for Cape Town (TCT), the City’s transport authority, removed silt and sludge from the canals in Masiphumelele in December last year.

As for litter, TCT has a team of eight people removing objects that are dumped in these canals every day of the week, including public holidays. The removal of litter by hand has been going on for more than a year, but the volume and pace of dumping make it nearly impossible to keep the canals clean.

As such, we need the residents of Masiphumelele to please work with us and to refrain from dumping into the canals.

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