Angry protestors set resort on fire

Fire fighters douse a fire at Monwabisi Resort.

Fuming Nkandla informal settlement residents in Endlovini, barricaded Baden Powell Drive with rubbish and set alight buildings at the Monwabisi Beach Resort in a violent protest over proposed installation of portable toilets.

As early as 4am on Thursday July 9, the residents had already started blocking the road and burning rubbish just before they burnt some buildings at the resort.

Residents said when the City of Cape Town introduced Mshengu toilets they were approached and discussed it in detail. They gave the go-ahead that the Mshengu toilets could be provided and were happy with the toilet service so far.

But community leader, Christopher Zondani, said now the issue is that the City wants to introduce pota-pota toilets without engaging them first.

He said they have visited all the areas that have portable toilets and their service is extremely poor. He said the kind of service that Mshengu is providing is way better compared to the portable toilets.

Mr Zondani said Mshengu toilets were introduced in November last year and up until now they never had any challenges and complains about their service.

He said when the Mshengu toilets were installed the agreement between them and the City was that when they change the Mshengu toilets they would install fully flushing toilets.

All of a sudden, he said the City now overlooks their agreement and proceeds with their actions without engaging them. “Why change Mshengu when we have not complained about it? When Mshengu was introduced, the City engaged us, why are they not engaging us now? We want these Mshengu because the service of these pota-pota toilets is appalling. We do not want them and that is that. Why do you fix it if is not broken?,” he said.

Mr Zondani said they have held numerous meetings with the City and if they can’t reach an amicable agreement residents are still going to protest.

In a media statement, mayor, Dan Plato, said in the 2019/20 financial year, approximately
R2 million had been spent upgrading and painting the Monwabisi facility in preparation for the festive season, when the resort sees up to 1 000 visitors daily during its peak. He said the 26 accommodation units also attract bookings from tourists from all over the country, who secure these months in advance, at a resort that is reputable for being both affordable and efficiently run.

“It is unfortunate that Monwabisi Resort has become a target for community protests. Not too long ago, a vehicle was burnt down at the resort. Although the resort is currently closed, these actions put in danger security personnel and contractor staff who are on site throughout the year, completing repairs and maintenance.

“The accommodation park with camping sites and chalets, next to the day resort, will no longer be available to our residents and those involved in burning this facility should be ashamed of their actions,” Mr Plato said.

Xanthea Limberg, mayoral committee member for water and waste, said reports received by the City indicate that communities are objecting to the provision of alternative toilets rather than traditional full flush toilets.

Ms Limberg said she has also been made aware of some complaints that community leaders were not consulted about the change in service providers.

But she said residents are assured that both new and old service providers have agreed that toilets will not be removed without being replaced on the same day. “Nkandla is an example of one of many settlements within the city that have been established despite significant City efforts to prevent the land from being occupied.

“The area is established on sand dunes and as such cannot support formal development or installation of traditional services such as standpipes and full flush toilets,” she said.