Makhaza residents carried a portable toilet filled with faeces to Khayelitsha Training Centre, on Thursday November 9, to complain about a breakdown in sanitation services in the area.
The 50 placard-waving protesters said the portable toilets had not been collected for almost a month, and rubbish was also piling up in the area, making living conditions unbearable. They demanded action from their ward councillor and City officials.
Community leader Silulami Vungaye said residents had also blocked Baden Powell Drive on Monday November 6 with the portable toilets to drive home their point because they felt the City did not care about their plight.
A company contracted to collect rubbish in their area and other areas outside Makhaza had never worked a day in their community, and now its contract had been terminated, he said.
The area was now very dirty, and children were eating expired foods that had been dumped, he said, adding that some children had been admitted to a local clinic for various infections, which he believed were linked to the breakdown in sanitation services.
The residents had decided to stage their protest at the Khayelitsha Training Centre, he said, because they had heard that ward councillors and City officials had planned to meet there. “Hence we thought we should ambush them,” he said.
“We have told them straight that we cannot live like this and no one deserves to live like that. We want a quick solution to this problem and nothing more. We cannot live like this anymore. Our health is at risk and our children’s health is at danger as well.”
Ward 96 councillor Lucky Mbiza said the portable toilets had not been serviced because the company that collected them had been robbed twice by criminals demanding protection fees.
It had been agreed that City Law Enforcement officers would escort the company in the area until the problem had been solved, he said.
“If these toilets are not collected, they are a danger to everyone, especially the elderly and minor children,” he said.
“We appeal to anyone to allow essential services to render their services, and we agreed that Law Enforcement officers should start immediately.”
Commenting about the uncollected rubbish, Mr Mbiza said a new company was expected to provide cleaning services in the community next month, but the City had committed to providing cleaning services until then.