Toilets unserviced for five years in East London


Residents say 200 people use two working toilets and one communal tap

Photo of an informal settlement
Residents of Khayelitsha informal settlement in Duncan Village, East London, say toilets were installed in 2014 and have never been serviced. Photo: Chris Gilili

“Our toilets have never been serviced since 2014,” said Ria Mvandaba, a resident of Khayelitsha informal settlement in Duncan Village, East London. “They installed them and never came back to service them. Only two are working for hundreds of residents. They cannot flush; so we use buckets. Sometimes we use the bush nearby … It is so embarrassing to find yourself sitting on a bush sometimes in broad daylight.”

Khayelitsha, established in 1999, is now home to over 200 people, according to longterm residents. They depend on two communal toilets and one tap.

“These toilets were installed in 2014 … There are ten of them, but only two work … At night people use buckets and empty them in an open field,” said Anda Malapu, who is responsible for cleaning the toilets. “Sometimes when I come here, I find human waste dumped … I don’t even have the proper materials to clean them. I do my best to clean the two that are working. Our plight is painful,” said Malapu.

“I have informed our supervisor … Honestly, he has never availed himself. He keeps saying that he will send people to look into them. Nothing has happened. Even our councillor knows our situation. He has also promised to intervene, but we are still waiting,” he said.

Ward 6 councillor Peter Kiki said, “The municipality told me they have no contractors who will service the toilets. I have tried to address this … I have also personally tried to install taps with my own money in another part of Khayelitsha, but people vandalised those taps. I admit the municipality has never serviced these toilets, but vandalism by residents also makes things difficult for us.”

Bonisile Nombewu, who is responsible for sanitation services at Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality, directed all questions to the communication department. GroundUp has been trying since Friday to get comment from the municipality.

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TOPICS:  Housing Sanitation

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