6 April 2020
“The municipality should not wait to act when there are pandemics like [Covid-19] to provide residents with basic services,” says Lunga Mike, a resident of Powerline informal settlement in Motherwell, Port Elizabeth.
Two weeks ago, dozens of residents from informal settlements, including Powerline, blocked major roads leading into Motherwell and Wells Estate to demand electricity, water and toilets.
Last week, three toilets were delivered to Powerline as part of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Powerline was one of several settlements to get new toilets.
Luckily for Mike, one of the three new toilets is situated near his shack. “I now feel safe because there is a toilet near us. We used to travel a long distance at night risking being attacked by criminals. I have been living with my uncle for more than ten years here with no toilets and other basic services. The officials should take it as a priority to assist the poor,” he said.
Some residents from Powerline questioned why it has taken the City “so long” to provide the additional toilets. A resident, who asked not to be named, said: “Five toilets for a population of more than 400 people is laughable. Had it not been for [Covid-19], we would have remained with two toilets.”
Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality spokesperson Mthubanzi Mniki said the City wanted residents to live in clean environments and it would “continue to improve services to all residents, more especially the most vulnerable”.