City toilets in appalling state despite repairs budget pledge

2017-09-19 13:45
The cistern in this public toilet, located between Church and Pietermaritz streets, is broken and the toilet cannot be flushed.

The cistern in this public toilet, located between Church and Pietermaritz streets, is broken and the toilet cannot be flushed. (Vincint Madlopha )

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Despite the City’s pledge last year to set aside R3 million to renovate public toilets in the city, they remain in a dire state.

Cleaners are forced to use buckets of water to flush some of the toilets, while in other cases men and women have to share toilet facilities.

In March last year, Msunduzi’s executive committee recommended that R3 million be made available in the 2016/17 budget to repair public toilets.

A year and two months after the 2016/17 financial year started, it is unclear whether any repairs were actually carried out.

The municipal 2016/17 financial year ended in July.

In the Exco report, the municipality admitted public toilets “inclusive [of] all toilets at sports facilities and halls have deteriorated due to the lack of maintenance and extensive vandalism over the years”.

The report said the municipality was performing reactive maintenance rather than preventative maintenance on council facilities due to an inadequate repairs and maintenance budget.

City workers have raised a stink about the condition of the 15 public toilet sites across the city centre.

A cleaner, who asked not to be named, said only five of the 17 toilets at Publicity House are working.

“These toilets are among the busiest in the whole city. Every day there are queues.

“People come here to get their proof of address from the many councillors who use these offices.

“Councillors and political parties’ support staff are also always here, so you can imagine how busy these toilets are.

“It is a shame that only five toilets are working here. None of the toilets for the disabled are working and there is no easy access to other toilets for people using wheelchairs because of the stairs.

“Toilet paper is not always delivered on time and when that happens [and supplies run out], the public accuse us of stealing the toilet paper.”

The cleaner said some toilets, including the ones in the Imbali taxi rank, at Hoosen Haffejee Street and Retief Street, are not working properly. “We have to use buckets to flush them. We go and complain about these things to our management and no one wants to listen to us.

“There are cases where males and females have to share toilets because you will find that all the toilets maybe in the male section are broken and they have to use the female toilets,” said the cleaner.

Municipal spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha said the City would only be able to respond on Tuesday.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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