One pit toilet for 20 families

2017-10-04 11:11
In Masibulele Informal Settlement up to 20 families have to share a single pit toilet they have built themselves. (Nombulelo Damba-Hendrik, GroundUp)

In Masibulele Informal Settlement up to 20 families have to share a single pit toilet they have built themselves. (Nombulelo Damba-Hendrik, GroundUp)

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Cape Town - In Masibulele Informal Settlement in Mdantsane, up to 20 families have to share one pit toilet, GroundUp reports.

Located next to Mount Ruth train station, the informal settlement is 20 years old. There are 300 shacks, divided into two sections, A and B.

Unemployment is high. Most shacks have only one room for the whole family. There is no electricity except for illegal connections.

Section B is home to 100 families but has only five pit toilets. GroundUp found two of these were full. They stank and there were green flies everywhere. The toilets were built by residents.

READ: Waiting period on Cape Town's housing list is 60 years, meeting told

Community member Mzukhona Joka said he spent a week digging his own pit toilet and that was three years ago. His toilet is located 3m from his shack. He said every month he spent R200 on 5l of chemicals to fight the stench from the toilet.

"My toilet is deep, but the challenge is I'm not the only person using it," he said.

His neighbour, community leader Fikiswa Booi, shares the toilet. She lives in a two-room shack with her children.

"There are old people who are using these pit toilets. Some are not properly built and we are always scared that an elderly person or a child might fall in," she said.

"Women are at risk of getting infections, but what other choices do we have?"

Booi has lived in the settlement for more than 20 years. She said for almost 18 years residents had to walk more than 5km to fetch water at the nearest formal settlement. Then three years ago standpipe taps were installed.

She said Masibulele Informal Settlement is the "most disciplined" informal settlement. The last protest was 10 years ago.

READ: City of Cape Town shelves Wolwerivier housing project

But people are fed up.

She said empty promises from the ward councillor and the Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality make the community leaders look like liars in the eyes of residents.

Booi said the last time municipal officials visited Masibulele was in April and a meeting was held at Luxolweni community hall.

Promises were made that residents would be moved in August to temporary houses to make way for RDP houses. They have heard nothing further and it is now October.

At the time of publication, ward councillor Pumla Yenana and the municipality had failed to respond to GroundUp's questions, sent on Monday, October 2.

Read more on:    port elizabeth  |  housing  |  service delivery

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