Anger over dumped slabs

SHAMEFUL SITUATION: More than 10000 toilet slabs that were dumped at Tsholomnqa’s Moni village by contractors in 2015. Not a single villager benefited from the project Picture: MICHAEL PINYANA
SHAMEFUL SITUATION: More than 10000 toilet slabs that were dumped at Tsholomnqa’s Moni village by contractors in 2015. Not a single villager benefited from the project Picture: MICHAEL PINYANA
While the Amathole district municipality announced this week that R91-million has been set aside to build 8300 toilets for 68000 households, thousands of toilet structures have been dumped in several villages by contractors who have failed to assemble them.

As a result, scores of villagers in the district who do not have toilets are concerned that they may be “left out” of the sanitation projects.

Having to use the bush instead made women easy targets for criminals, the villagers said.

Irate villagers who spoke to the Saturday Dispatch said they felt disrespected, and that their dignity had been “trampled upon” as they were yet to receive decent toilets.

Saturday Dispatch visited several villages and found thousands of concrete slabs for toilets that have been dumped, some as far back as in 2014.

Some of the villages visited were:

lTwecu, where more than 700 toilet slabs are scattered around the village;

lMoni has more than 10000 slabs lying in the middle of the village;

lCwecweni has just over 5000 slabs lying at a local school;

lIn Kwelera, hundreds have been dumped outside a home in Zozo village;

lIn Keiskammahoek, thousands are said to be piled up at Tshoxa village, since early in 2015.

The Dispatch understands that some villages in Ngqushwa, Mnquma and Mbhashe local municipalities were experiencing the same problem.

The district authority announced this week that contractors would be on site next week to build the 8300 toilets as phase two of their sanitation project.

It also announced that failed phase one, which was given to the politically connected Siyenza Group, had now been taken over by the national Department of Water and Sanitation – which had roped in the Amatola Water Board to implement it.

But Nothemba Futha, of Cwecweni village, said the same promise was made in 2015.

“Why would our government waste money on buying slabs while they are not going to use them?

“How will this new promise assist rural people like me?

“We have seen and heard of these promises,” said Futha.

“Our government does not respect us rural people. They dumped these toilet structures here in 2015 and promised to come assemble them and ever since then, we never saw them again.”

At Moni village, the toilet slabs have started to crack.

Villagers feel that should the slabs be assembled, the structure may collapse and cause injuries.

Vukile Yelani, of Moni village, said the toilet slabs were left in their village in 2014.

“These were dumped here.

“Millions of rands were dumped here and the companies that did this got their money and the municipality claim to have delivered but we are suffering without any sanitation. Where is our dignity? Why are we short-changed by our own government?” asked Yelani.

Thandokazi Setlwane, 19, of Zozo village, said it was dangerous for people, especially women and children in their village to relieve themselves in the bushes.

“We are facing a challenge where in this day and age we are still using the bush to relieve ourselves,” said Setlwane.

ADM mayor Nomfusi Nxawe promised this week to reduce the backlog of toilets in the district.

ADM said they would start building new toilets in the following areas:

l 2000 toilets will be built in the Raymond Mhlaba  municipality;

l2000 in Amahlathi;

l1400 in Mnquma; and

l2900 in Mbhashe local municipality.

At present, ADM has budgeted R91.9-million to benefit a total of 68202 households.

Nxawe said ADM had been engaged in talks with various key roleplayers including the Ministry of Water and Sanitation and other organs of state.

“At this stage no firm black and white agreement has been concluded.

“We remain committed to the provision of free sanitation to the disadvantaged communities and to restore the dignity of our people,” said Nxawe. — bonganif@dispatch.