Broken toilets a health hazard for residents

Residents of Muvhango informal settlements near Buffalo Flats in East London have had to endure life without proper sanitation for over a year after toilets built in time for the August 2016 local government election stopped working three months after they were built.

Muvhango, Braelyn and Scenery Park are the areas that were simultaneously burdened with problematic toilets that were apparently built in July 2016.

Muvhango has eight toilets situated in different places.

Disgruntled resident Aubrey Lottering said the toilets stopped working post-election.

A set of four toilets share the same yard with a spaza shop, and the sewage spills past the shop into people’s homes.

Shop owner Romeo Mamun said he has had a tough time attracting customers in his shop due to the stench.

Lottering said scores of people queue up in the mornings to get water from the taps built outside the toilets. “You drink water but beneath the tap you find a sludge of sewage. What does it say about your dignity?”

When Daily Dispatch visited the area, the fence of the New Generation créche was covered in faeces from locals dumping their waste in the schoolyard.

This is due to the use of buckets in most households.

“If toilets could flush, people would not have been doing what they are doing,” said Lottering. “The victims at the end are the children. How could you have sewage inside a school premises?”

Lottering and Mamun claim ward councillor Roseline Witbooi was avoiding their calls.

“We have tried on numerous occasions to get hold of the councillor. She just says she will send people over to come and take a picture, that’s all,” said Lottering.

Witbooi told the Dispatch she was surprised the problem had not been resolved and she had not received feedback from her ward committee members about the seriousness of the situation.

“In Braelyn they are busy fixing them. In Scenery Park they have just finished, so I am surprised that in Muvhango they aren’t fixed,” said Witbooi.

But in Scenery Park only two out of 10 toilets were working.

“It is suspicious. Maybe the contractor used small pipes or people are using the toilets to litter,” said Witbooi.

Witbooi said the reason for the halt was because BCM wanted to wait for the new year’s budget allocation to employ workers.

BCM did not respond to questions. —

mandilakhek@dispatch.co.za

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