Durban residents plan to take to the streets if city doesn't clean up its act

2018-07-25 08:43
Municipal toilets in the ablution block at Siyathuthuka in Durban have not been cleaned for almost a year, say angry residents. (Nokulunga Majola, GroundUp)

Municipal toilets in the ablution block at Siyathuthuka in Durban have not been cleaned for almost a year, say angry residents. (Nokulunga Majola, GroundUp)

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Residents of Siyathuthuka informal settlement in Durban say their communal toilets hardly ever get cleaned, often overflow and are a health hazard to the community, GroundUp reports.

They say they feel completely ignored by eThekwini municipality.

Residents are concerned about blocked, portable toilets and a dilapidated ablution block.

The portable toilets were installed at the entrance of the settlement by Santech over 10 years ago as part of a contract with eThekwini municipality. A source inside Santech, who asked to remain anonymous, said the contract with the City expired in June 2017.

"We got resistance from the residents when we tried to remove the toilets. We have been cleaning them at our costs for some time now.

"I was told that the contract for the toilets had expired. Therefore it is the City's responsibility to empty the toilets every week. The problem is the City doesn't do it and we have to suffer," said Innocent Mathaba, chairperson of the settlement.

'It's our lives at risk'

"Every time the toilets overflow, I have to contact the company that supplied the toilets to come and clean them."

Ward councillor Ashok Maharajh said he was "getting no joy from the municipality".

He said he had made several calls and sent emails to the municipality to have the matter sorted out, but to no avail.

GroundUp first emailed eThekwini municipality about the situation on July 3, 2018. Several more emails were sent and calls made thereafter. The municipality eventually replied on July 30, saying the matter had been escalated to the water and sanitation department.

"This is a huge problem for us and no one seems to be doing anything about it," said resident Ntombifuthi Blose.

"We need toilets, but when they overflow it's our lives at risk... The smell is too unbearable."

Blose fears that there could be a cholera outbreak. She said the toilets had been placed on each side of the only street in the settlement and the children had nowhere else to play.

Protest 'the only solution'

Shack dwellers in another part of the settlement, on Johanna Road, say the toilets at the ablution block near them are blocked and unusable.

"It's been close to a year now and nothing is happening, instead it's getting worse... We are all human. No one deserves to live in such conditions," said Mathaba.

Besides the blockages, doors, windows and toilet seats are broken.

Mathaba said residents would be taking to the streets.

"Maybe that is the only solution and way the municipality understands," he said.

Read more on:    durban  |  service delivery

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