Residents of Febane Square informal settlement, in Nyanga, are up in arms and demanding better municipal services. For more than five months they say they have been living with blocked and smellytoilets, with raw sewerage running on the streets.
The area has eight communal toilets and one tap. But all the toilets are blocked and the tap which serves the area is surrounded by human waste, making it impossible to fetch water.
Community leader, Nobeka Ngxukuma, said residents had been forced to use buckets to relief themselves and discard their excrement into the already blocked toilets.
Ms Ngxukuma said people were worried about fetching water from the tap as that could lead to the spread of diseases. She said the area had 12 communal toilets, but in 2015 four of them caught fire.
Prior to the fire, she said the residents were grouped and allocated a toilet. All the toilets were locked and each group had a keys. But since then things have changed. The toilets are no longer locked to give residents equall access.
This, she said, contributed to the blockage.
Ms Ngxukuma said things were further complicated by criminals who stole the sewage pipes. She said some time ago the community had someone who volunteered to the clean the toilets, but the City instructed that person to stop for health reasons.
.Ms Ngxukuma said the City promised them to hire a person to clean the toilets. But that never happened.
“We have to cover our noses when we fetch water from the taps. The smell is so unbearable,” she said. “Our health is at risk. We are fed up of living like pigs. We need our councillor to take this matter seriously.”
Another resident, Bukelwa Manjati, said some people had opted to beg people from a nearby area to use their toilets. But she said some people refused to help
Ms Manjati said other residents felt as being a burden to their neighbours and rather chose to relief themselves at night as they were ashamed of carrying buckets with faeces.
She said they had informed their ward councillor, Luyanda Nyingwa, about their plight but he did nothing. She said they had had enough of living like pigs. She said some residents had developed skin rash.
But Mr Nyingwa said the toilets had been fixed two weeks ago. He said the problem was that the sewage pipes were constantly stolen by the thugs and that caused the blockage.
He said he had written to the City asking it to employ someone to clean the toilets.
He said he was still waiting for an answer. mayoral committee member for area Central, Siyabulela Mamkeli, said the City has established that this settlement wss formed after an illegal land occupation approximately three weeks ago. He said the City is currently exploring whether these residents can be relocated.
If this is not possible, he said, the City will establish what temporary basic services for these residents can be provided until the situation with the illegal occupation can be resolved.