SAHRC to inspect PE toilet situation after DA complaint

A mobile toilet (Lizeka Tandwa, News24)
A mobile toilet (Lizeka Tandwa, News24)

Cape Town - The SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) will conduct an in-loco inspection on Wednesday at the site of a proposed sanitation project in Port Elizabeth amid a dispute over whether the council has started construction on the project or not.

This after the DA questioned what it alleges is conflicting information from the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality (NMBM) from two separate municipal officials.

According to the party, which is vying to lead the council through a coalition after no clear winner emerged in the August 3 municipal elections, it wrote to the commission to complain about the lack of proper sanitation in the suburb as far back as September 2014.

In June the party released a statement claiming the NMBM had misled the SAHRC when it set out the steps it was taking to eradicate the bucket system there.

In that statement it provided a link to a letter it said was from the NMBM to the SAHRC.

In the letter, a Dr EW Shaidi explains that there were three stages planned for getting rid of the bucket system. They were: the construction of communal ablutions in informal settlements (stage 1); the slab and toilet construction of the house foundation and bathroom of an RDP house on a serviced site while the housing subsidies are awaited (stage 2); and the construction of a serviced house on a serviced site (stage 3).

He said stages one and three had commenced and were ongoing. Tenders were advertised and had closed and construction was expected to begin in April 2016.

The DA claimed this contradicted a June 14 report by the SABC in which "engineering political head" Andile Mfunda said the municipality is only now starting to look at building communal ablutions systems in township communities.

The SAHRC's visit on Wednesday is to gather information on the situation on the ground, and a report would be released at a later date.

Comment was not immediately available from the NMBM.

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