Informal settlement toilets 'neglected'

2012-03-14 14:22

Cape Town - Toilets in informal settlements are often neglected because they are seen as a temporary arrangement, the Social Justice Coalition said in Cape Town on Wednesday.

Policy co-ordinator Gavin Silber said these areas were seen as illegal and therefore not in need of proper infrastructure.

"We need to change the very nature of communities and the way we view them. We have failed to generate and implement policy around how we deliver services to these communities."

Water and sanitation

He was speaking at a SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) public hearing on water and sanitation.

The commission was discussing ways to solve the rampant problem of unenclosed toilets and poorly-maintained sanitation in informal areas.

It highlighted two affected informal settlements, Makhaza in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, and Rammolutsi near Viljoenskroon in the Free State.

The Democratic Alliance become embroiled in a political storm for failing to enclose more than 1 300 toilets in Makhaza. In June 2011, the party acted on a Western Cape High Court order to enclose these toilets.

It then emerged that the African National Congress had failed to enclose almost 1 600 toilets in Rammulotsi. In May 11 the SAHRC ordered the Moqhaka municipality to urgently enclose the toilets.


Commission chairperson Lawrence Mushwana said the matter had become political.

"Yes, it is political in a way because it is governed by politicians, but we don't want politics to blind us."

Silber said local government could focus on two issues that would immediately improve the situation.

The first was to ensure toilets did not become blocked, damaged, or potential hazards.

The second was to have meaningful engagement with affected communities, so they could advise on the best toilets for their needs in terms of design, location and safety.

About 10m people in South Africa do not have access to basic sanitation.

  • Peter-Peter - 2012-03-14 14:29

    TYPICAL... 'i didnt pay for it, therefore i dont have to look after it'

      Peter-Peter - 2012-03-14 14:29

      imagine living your life with that sought of mentality!

      Pythagoras - 2012-03-14 14:45

      10m people never had sanitation cause they were never part of SA. They never paid tax and never built any of the infrastructures! The ANC has taken over and forcibly pushed their way into power and control SA and now don't know how to run it! Yet they promised all their followers free this and free that! Geez! I sometimes wonder!

  • Marion - 2012-03-14 14:39

    I don't think those 10 million all live in the Western Cape.

  • Piet - 2012-03-14 14:43

    stop talking Sh1t!!

  • Sharon - 2012-03-14 14:51

    They made such a big stink over the open toilets in the Western Cape - Why isn't the youth league involved in the Free State saga? Because it isn't the DA's territory?

  • Rob - 2012-03-14 14:53

    How was this situation managed before flushing toilets, motor cars, TV's, running water, electricity, etc was introduced to our indigenous folk, who apparently lived happily in the countryside. Why is it so difficult now. After all these are " informal " settlements, which often are not deemed legal by the powers that be.

      Lacrimose - 2012-03-14 21:35

      The same way it was managed when the whole world had no flushing toilets, TVS, running water, electricity etc. It's a rather quaint (though misguided) notion to imagine that 'our indigenous folk' lived happily in the countryside until these marvels were magically bestowed on them by 'us'. But zoooming along to your final point, people live in informal settlements, that's a fact that you cannot magic away. A massive concentration of people - far more than in the good old days when there was a countryside. Most of these settlements were in the countryside to begin with - and waste was buried or put into the rivers. Today, people live in spaces smaller than your average suburban garage, and are -to put it bluntly - all defecating on their own doorsteps Or in the rivers. There's no room (or time) for chamber pots, WCs at the end of the garden, putting things out for the 'potman', or as was once the custom, simply emptying it out onto the street - onto the heads of passersby. Which in turn, as populations grew ended up in bubonic plague, cholera and other nasties. Which is where we ALL were before flushing toilets. As the world confronted these issues, so evolved solutions such as plumbing, water-purification and all that goes with it. That was a very long response! The short-answer is, the problem is here and now with people living cheek-by-jowl. What the merry band did living idyllically in the countryside no longer applies.

  • Angle - 2012-03-14 15:05

    The facts in this article are wrong. In Cape Town there were only 50 odd toilets unenclosed; the other 1250 were enclosed by the residents as per the agreement. This allowed for there to be one toilet per household with the same budget as the national norm of one toilet per 5 houses. The 50 toilets were enclosed immediately but the youth league broke down the enclosures. Also no mention that there are still 600 unenclosed toilets in Moqhaka in defiance of the SAHRC.

      pws69 - 2012-03-14 15:25

      Absolutely correct. And all of those 50 toilets were in an area controlled by ANCYL thugs, who refused to allow the residents to build enclosures. Added to that, the local ANCYL leader was a PAID community liaison, who AGREED to the plan that residents would enclose toilets so that EACH household would get their own toilet instead of the communal one. It must also be noted that communal toilets HAD already been built, so NO dignity was infringed up, except for the lazy scum who would not walk 50 metres to the communal toilets. Then this Silber fool and his mickey mouse coalition jumped on the bandwagon, making all kinds of wild accusations against the DA. Did the DA get a public apology from this Silber or his SJC? Not on your life. Did I get a response to my email pointing out the SJC and Silbers dishonesty? Not on your life. Were Silber and his SJC as vocal about ANC failures then and still continuing? Not on your life. Silber, shut the f#$k up. We don't want, nor need, your dishonesty.

  • flysouth - 2012-03-14 18:38

    WTF! - these people cannot be bothered to even look after their own toilets - gawd help us!

      henk63 - 2012-03-14 20:30

      They probably want government to wipe their asses too.

      Juan - 2012-03-15 01:07

      It's not election time, no one in government gives a crap about toilets, it will have to wait for the next elections. I wonder if the ANC's toilet problem in the Free State has been sorted, nothing mentioned in the article

      Juan - 2012-03-15 01:11

      Zuma were so heart broken about the toilets in the Free state.

      pws69 - 2012-03-15 07:07

      @Juan, No, approximately 600 still to go, and the workmanship on the ones done is apparently very bad.

  • Gail - 2012-03-21 18:05

    You know infrastructure to provide sanitation has to be planned and implemented BEFORE settlement of land takes place. Putting it in AFTERWards is extremely difficult since no building lines have been regulated and nobody wishes to pull up their shelter so waterborne sewerage and so on can be installed. The other problem is that the inhabitants of the settlements do not want just anyone to do the installation and building - they want to dictate who does it. Then theft also rears its ugly head with those who haven't been accommodated digging up and stealing the hardware for themselves. There are no easy answers to increased uncontrollable urbanisation. Do you know why there are no booms erected across level crossings? I have this on the best authority. The booms are stolen again and again so now we just have poles and taxi's driven by people who ignore the rules of the road and dodge through the gaps killing our children. Civil disobedience in which so called youths go on wild rampages destroying what infrastructure has been provided is also counter productive. The DA did the best they could with the budget at their disposal and after consultation with the people and a very small number weren't prepared to help themselves, not 1300 as claimed. The raw materials were there and they took them back before they could be destroyed and the problem resolved. The householder then has to maintain and use facilites at own expense.

  • Roger De Almeida - 2013-04-29 10:01

    If you don’t have access to a toilet then why oh why do you still keep breading. You can’t afford to buy your own crapped and paper but pushing out more babies is free.

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