Khayelitsha residents barricade homes against overflowing toilets

2016-12-15 09:57

Cape Town – Wearing black ankle boots, shorts and a T-shirt, Zandisile Phatho sweated as he went back and forth carrying a bucket, trying to scoop out the smelly toilet water that entered his shack in RR Section in Khayelitsha.

The stinking, green communal toilets in the informal settlement had flooded homes nearby as a result of constant blockages. It was so bad that Phatho has moved in with his girlfriend to get away. Other residents built ridges of sand to keep the sewage at bay, GroundUp reported.

Residents said they reported the problem to the City of Cape Town last week.

Mayoral committee member for utility services, Ernest Sonnenberg, said blocked sewerage pipes were the cause.

"The city has been working on clearing the blockage for approximately one week now, with no success," he said.

Toilets in RR Section are blocked and the dirty wa
Toilets in RR Section are blocked and the dirty water is flowing into nearby shacks. (Ashraf Hendricks/GroundUp)

On Tuesday, GroundUp saw that out of 10 communal toilets that were installed in 2013, only one was unlocked and it was overflowing. Dirty water pooled around the back of the toilets and flowed into shacks.

RR Section resident and toilet cleaner Andile Radebe said he reported the matter to his supervisor on Monday.

Blocked system

"Look at the mess these toilets are causing right now, and look at these kids playing here. The reason these toilets are like this is because of the amount of people that use them on a daily basis. The last time we counted, there were 360 toilets here in RR, but there are even more people."

In addition, people were dumping food or dirt into drains connected to the toilets, which blocked the system.

"It crushed my heart when I was driving around here and saw a child playing in that water, which is why I am taking it upon myself to highlight this issue," community activist Raymond Xazana said.

"This is not healthy. For these few days I have been here, the situation has not changed. How do people cook and eat with this bad smell?"

Xazana asked for help and posted photographs of the toilets on Facebook on Monday. He received responses from two different people from the city who wanted more information so they could dispatch a team to the informal settlement.

By Wednesday morning, nothing had changed.

Sonnenberg said the city had been in communication with RR Section residents and appealed to them to be patient as the city could not attend to the toilets until the blockages had been cleared. They were caused by rags and other litter in the system, which were thrown into toilets or open manholes.

Read more on:    cape town  |  service delivery

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

HSE Manager

Cape Town
Tumaini Consulting
R550 000.00 - R650 000.00 Per Year

SQL Reporter

Cape Town
Communicate Cape Town IT
R10 000.00 - R12 000.00 Per Month

Reporting Accountant

Cape Town
Network Finance Professional / Prudential
R310 000.00 - R360 000.00 Per Year

Property [change area]

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.