Makhaza Toilets: Review & The Way Forward

This article appeared in The Cape Times on 27 May 2010.

There was widespread controversy earlier this year when it emerged that 50 households in the low-income settlement of Makhaza (Khayelitsha) had been provided with unenclosed toilets, leaving residents deprived of their rights to health, safety and dignity. The City of Cape Town, governed by the DA, claimed an agreement had been reached with the community. It entailed the commitment to build an external toilet for each home, as opposed to one for every five homes, provided each household built their own enclosures (walls and roofs). However, many were not aware of this arrangement and, in some cases, were unable to afford the material with which to do so, forcing them to use uncovered toilets in full view of the passing public.

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SJC Member Stabbed & Robbed In Effort To Relieve Himself

An SJC member and Khayelitsha resident was stabbed in the face on Saturday whilst trying to relieve himself in a clearing alongside the N2 highway.

Makhosandile “Scarre” Qezo, who lives in RR section – an informal settlement in Khayelitsha in which there are approximately 3000 households and only 240 toilets – had walked across Lansdowne Road and was relieving himself behind a bush in the clearing alongside the N2 when two men attacked him.

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City Official Joins SJC For Inspection of RR Section

On 8 April 2010 SJC members accompanied Laurence Grootboom – Functional Operations Manager for the City’s Water and Sanitation Department – on a visit to an area of RR section long afflicted by an overflowing sewerage line. This followed numerous efforts by the SJC over the preceding six weeks to have the problem rectified, and a meeting a week earlier with the Mayor of Cape Town and other City officials in which it was raised.

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SJC Responds to City’s Condemnation of “Toilet Queue”

Cape Town, 23 March 2010 – On Saturday 20 March, the Social Justice Coalition (SJC) organised a queue of approximately 600 people outside a public toilet on the Sea Point Promenade as part of The World Toilet Queue – an international demonstration scheduled to coincide with World Water Day – to highlight the plight of the 2.5 billion people worldwide who do not have access to basic sanitation. It was also arranged to draw attention to the lack of basic sanitation services in the City of Cape Town and highlight how this affects residents’ health and safety, as well as the disproportionate investment in formal as opposed to informal settlements. It was further designed to coincide with the Human Rights Day weekend, to illustrate how numerous rights, particularly those of dignity and security, are still deprived to hundreds of thousands of Capetonians, and indeed millions more across the country.

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