The damning social audit report released by the Social Justice Coalition (SJC), on Saturday July 30, revealed the shocking conditions many pour flush toilets in Endlovini were in, and that residents of the informal settlement were often forced to relieve themselves in bushes.
A group of Endlovini residents gathered in a tent, in Endlovini, Khayelitsha, to receive and peruse the findings of the social audit report, according to which some of the toilets were either blocked or had not been cleaned for years.
A total of 870 residents of Endlovini were interviewed over a period of a month for the audit which was was also aimed at highlighting the daily challenges people of Endlovini face when it comes to sanitation provided to them.
Thandeka Khathi, the SJC’s acting head of local government programmes, said one of the main challenges residents of Endlovini were battling with was the issue of service delivery that is being rendered at a “sluggish pace”.
Ms Khathi said they discovered that about 364 households out of 870 they interviewed were using the pour flush toilets and 168 people were using the portable toilets.
She said that the pour flush toilets were shared by more than one family and in some parts of the area four families were sharing one toilet.
Ms Khathi said that the pour flush toilets were predominantly used by women and children. The portable toilets were another form of toilets used by the residents and they discovered that men were reluctant to use the portable toilets, while many women were using them.
She explained that among the challenges facing people who were using portable toilets was that they had to return the “pota-pota” to be cleaned, but often when they returned to collect it, they were not given the same one they had been using.
Ms Khathi said the dignity of the people had been dragged through the mud as some people they interviewed indicated that they had had to beg residents of Harare formal settlements to allow them to use their toilets and at times they were refused.
“The social audit was a community-led process of reviewing official documents to determine whether the public expenditure and service delivery outcomes reported by the government really reflect the public money spent and the services received by the community.
“Community monitoring of public expenditure is a way of holding government to account and encourages active and engaged citizenship. We will sit down with the residents and draft a way forward together. We called the official from the city to response to the social audit, but they did not attend the event though they promised to come. We also battled to get all the documents from the city as they kept giving us documents one by one making it hard for us to start the process of reviewing the state of toilets. We should have concluded the report by last year but because of these delaying tactics we only managed to conduct the audit this year in July,” she said.
Community leader Sandiso Twala said they were grateful that a social audit had been done to determine the state of the toilets and that they hoped the city would take steps to attended to the problems highlighted in the report.
He said the area had been in existence for more than 20 years yet informal settlements that had recently been built were receiving adequate service delivery.
Mr Twala said what they needed, as residents of Endlovini, were houses – which would contribute greatly to having their dignity restored. “We know that the people of Endlovini have given up the hope of having houses, but as the leaders we will continue to fight for better service delivery,” he said.