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.

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.

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.

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.

The Long Walk to Human Dignity

CAPE TOWN, 21 March 2010 – This weekend people across the country mark Human Rights Day. Today marks the 50th anniversary of the Sharpeville massacre on 21 March 1960. Deep sorrow and joy enter our thoughts when we pay tribute to those who died for the rights we enjoy today. The 69 people brutally massacred and the hundreds injured at Sharpeville peacefully demanding the scrapping of the Pass Laws. These laws were arguably the colonial and Apartheid state’s cruelest acts which denied freedom of movement and dignity to the majority of Black people.

Queue for Sanitation, Safety & Dignity!

How often do you fear for your safety when using a toilet?

For many, going to the toilet or accessing clean drinking water might seem like the most fundamental of service provisions and rights, but it is routinely denied to half a million people living in the City of Cape Town’s informal settlements.

Residents currently have to share one toilet amongst thirteen households (despite the law regulating five per household), and toilets are often dysfunctional, poorly maintained, unhygienic, unsafe and very sparsely located.

Makhaza toilets

CAPE TOWN, 26 January 2010 – Today the SJC visited Makhaza Section in Khayelitsha to investigate claims that toilets had been built towards the end of last year without walls or roofs. The City government claim that this was done with the understanding that community members would build a suitable enclosure at a later date. All the residents we spoke to were not aware of this arrangement.

Xenophobic Violence in De Doorns

CAPE TOWN – Widespread xenophobic attacks broke out in De Doorns – a small grape/wine farming town just beyond Worcester – over the weekend, and peaked early Tuesday morning. Reports of displaced people ranged from 500 at the outset to 2800 at its peak. Police claim that over twenty people have since been arrested (the majority for assault and public violence, but four for looting), and that there has been no significant subsequent violence since Tuesday. A SJC team visited the area yesterday to assess the extent of the displacement, and responses by local and provincial authorities. Below is a brief report of the situation as it stood late Thursday afternoon.