Unenclosed toilets suits ANCYL: Zille

2010-06-08 19:06

Cape Town - Attempts by the City of Cape Town to enclose toilets in Makhaza had been blocked for political reasons and not genuine concern for residents of the community, Western Cape Premier Helen Zille said on Tuesday.

"We tried to rectify the situation but it did not suit the ANC Youth League... they were determined to obtain open toilets because it suited their agenda," she said.

"The ANCYL do not want the DA to be seen to deliver services."

Residents from Makhaza met with Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato on Tuesday morning, Zille said.

'Community intimidated'

The delegation had told the mayor that the residents wanted to work with the city, but were scared of the ANCYL because they intimidated the community.

They did not want the mayor to even mention their names out of fear, she said.

"The ANCYL says it is part of the community and so has a right to speak on behalf of the community. Well, that kind of claim is the Stalinist democracy that we cannot tolerate in South Africa," said Zille.

After a long conversation with the minister of co-operative governance and traditional affairs, Sicelo Shiceka, who was due to visit the area soon, Zille told journalists in Cape Town she had put together a memorandum stating all the "facts" surrounding the open-air toilet saga.

Two weeks ago members of the ANCYL demolished tin-and-wood structures the city was putting up around toilets to give people privacy, demanding brick and mortar instead.

'No rights violated'

The council last week removed the toilets altogether, a move followed by violent protests in which 32 people were arrested.

Zille said that the 55 households whose toilets were removed still had access to a concrete enclosed toilet on the national ration of five households to one toilet.

Therefore the city had not violated any constitutional right or policy prescript with the regard to the provision of services, she said.

The city had repeated the offer to reinstall the toilets on the proviso that enclosures were first built on site.

Makhaza was part of the Silvertown Upgrade Project in which construction of complete housing units were planned for the near future. This meant that when the top structures of the houses were erected, a toilet would be included per unit, said Zille.

The City was in the process of upgrading 223 informal settlements, and people were active agents in that development, said Zille.

'93.9% have access to basic sanitation'

She said 93.9% of residents in Cape Town had access to basic sanitation which was the highest figure for any metro municipality in the country.

Both the mayor and Zille acknowledged that the unenclosed toilets were an affront to dignity and human rights, she said.

Their objective was to deliver the best quality services to as many people as possible with the budget constraints.

On Monday the ANCYL had laid a criminal charge of malicious damage to property and incitement of violence against Plato.

Plato last week called on Makhaza residents in Khayelitsha to burn tyres and protest against the ANCYL "hooligans" and "thugs" who destroyed the toilet enclosures.

Zille said that the mayor's comments were taken out of context and that he was making a rhetorical point.

"The mayor said that if any protest was due it should be against those destroying the toilet enclosures," she said.