Wednesday, June 12, 2024
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South Africa: 'Using the Bucket Is Better Than Risking Your Life Trying to Go to the Neighbour's Toilet' Says Durban Resident

The DA in KZN is writing to the Human Rights Commission about old and overflowing pit toilets in the community

  • Many households in the community of Bester near KwaMashu, Durban say they have to share toilets with neighbours because their pit toilets have been full and overflowing for years.
  • The toilets were apparently built by a contractor hired by the municipality between 1996 and 1997.
  • The DA in KZN is writing to the Human Rights Commission about the conditions faced by the community.

Nearly all of the pit toilets built by the eThekwini Municipality for the community of Bester near KwaMashu, Durban more than 25 years ago, are full. Residents say some of the toilets have not been cleared in six years, forcing them to share toilets with several other households.

According to community leaders, the community was established in 1985 when the provincial government built 850 two-room RDP houses. The toilets were apparently built by a contractor hired by the municipality between 1996 and 1997.

Residents say most of these pit toilets are broken or overflowing with faeces. We were shown at least 39 toilets that were no longer used because they were full or broken.

Thobile Mtolo says she worries her toilet will soon be full because she is allowing about 18 people from eight households to use her toilet. “When I was staying alone, my toilet was always clean. But now since I help my neighbours, life is not easy, and my toilet is always smelling because it’s getting fulI. I have to clean it two times a day to prevent the smell,” she said.

Another resident, Lebo Mokoena said the toilets have been full for over six years. “The feeling of having to use our neighbour’s toilet, even at night, is not okay at all,” said Lebo. She said they first reported their sanitation problems to the municipality in 2017. “The municipality said there is a project to empty the toilets. But when the project arrived, I was passed by.”

Lebo said some nights they just relieve themselves in a bucket and throw it away the next morning. “Because crime is so high in the area, using the bucket is better than risking your life while trying to go to the neighbour’s toilet,” she said.

Community leader Bhekokwakhe Doyisa said they are now demanding the municipality formalise the area and install a proper sewerage system.

The DA’s KZN spokesperson on Human Settlements, Marlaine Nair, told GroundUp the party would be writing to the Human Rights Commission about the conditions faced by the Bester community.