City delays providing toilets to creche

Barbara Maregele
Children at the Suphemelela Day Care in Khayelitsha are expected to receive five portable flush toilets once the City’s new budget is approved. Photo by Barbara Maregele.
Barbara Maregele

Educators at the Suphemelela Day Care in Khayelitsha where children have been using buckets as toilets, say they are still waiting for flush toilets promised to them by the City of Cape Town more than a month ago.

City officials say the creche should get five portable flush toilets once the budget for the new financial year has been approved.

The budget is currently before council.

On 22 May, GroundUp featured an article on the creche, where 25 children aged from infants to five-year-olds had been using two five litre buckets as toilets for a year. Teachers empty the full buckets into toilets about 200 metres from the creche. Creche founder Zodwa Mdiko says she opened the creche in 2013 after parents in the area approached her for help. In response to the article, the City’s Mayco member for Utility Services, Ernest Sonnenberg, promised to remedy the situation. Sonnenberg told GroundUp then that an official would be sent to the creche that week to confirm how many toilets were needed and the toilets would be delivered soon after. But when GroundUp visited the creche this week the buckets outside the small structure were still being used. “We’ve been waiting a while for help. Someone from the City came here a few weeks ago and told us they were struggling to find the creche. She wrote down a few things and promised to come back with a portaloo, but we are still waiting,” said teacher Sinalo Yozi.

She says while they cleaned the buckets as often as possible, there was still a high possibility of the children getting sick.

“Our main worry is when one child has diarrhoea, the other children can get sick very quickly if we don’t empty the buckets and clean them. The children are used to using the buckets now, but it doesn’t mean it’s okay,” she said.

Yozi says since last month the creche has received food parcels from surrounding schools.

“We have approached the city’s disaster risk management to assist us with some building materials as well, because in winter the rain and wind comes through the roof. The only people helping us at the moment are the surrounding schools in Site C that donate food parcels to us,” she said.

Yesterday, Sonnenberg told GroundUp that the City had already exhausted its budget for providing portable flush toilets.

“The City’s Water and Sanitation Department has, in the interim, requested a quotation from the contractor for five portable flush toilets to ensure that as soon as the budget is available for the current financial year (2014/15), the service is delivered. As soon as the budget is available, the department will be able to place the order and delivery will take place within 10 days, hopefully sooner,” he said.

Sonnenberg said the matter was a priority for the City.

“The number of portable flush toilets can be increased if the creche needs more. The order for five toilets is based on prior experience confirming that a portable flush toilet serviced three times a week at a creche will be able to accommodate five children,” he said.

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TOPICS:  Sanitation

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