Taps run dry for Gugs family

Phindiwe Magwebu with a bucket of human waste after her grandmother had relived herself in it.

The Magwebu family, who live in Gugulethu, say they’ve been battling since the municipality cut off their water supply without giving them a valid reason.

And since then, they said, they have not had the use of a flushing toilet, so they’ve been forced to use a bucket.

When Vukani visited their two-roomed home on Monday March 26, one of the family members had just relieved herself and the bucket of human excrement, covered with a cloth, was still inside the house.

An outside toilet, which the family usually uses, is now blocked and overflowing with faeces.

The house belongs to the sickly Rosie Magwebu, 83, who has been living in the area for decades.

She shares the house with two grandchildren and four great grandchildren.

The family told Vukani it had been nearly three months since they had running water.

One of Ms Magwebu’s grand-children, Phindwe Magwebu, said her family had lost their dignity and that her grandmother was unable to take the bucket outside after she had relieved herself, and so it stayed in the house all day until someone arrived to remove it.

The 44-year-old said she has to pour the faeces into the outside toilet and get water from the neighbours to flush it. But now that the toilet is blocked, she’s not sure of the best way to get rid of it.

Apart from the stench emanating from the toilet, she said, there were also maggots in it.

“There is a smell of human excrement everywhere here. I feel ashamed when people visit our home because of this smell. The children can longer play in the yard because the smell of the faeces is unbearable. We can’t live like this.

“That bucket you see there is waiting for me to clean it,” she said.

Phindiwe Magwebu said she has visited the Fezeka municipal offices in Gugulethu to report the matter many times, but she has had no joy.

She said she was tired of begging for water from the neighbours and now she does not know what to do.

She told Vukani that when she first noticed their water supply had been turned off, she thought it was related to the City’s water crisis and that the supply would be turned on again.

However, she said, as time went by she realised that everyone else in the area had water, so she contacted her ward councillor who advised her to report the matter to municipal offices.

She said according to their knowledge they are not in arrears with their water bill and staff at the municipal offices had been unable to explain why their water supply had been cut off.

She said she had turned to Vukani in the hope that we’d be able to help resolve the matter.

When Vukani contacted the City about the Magwebus’ complaint, they said they would investigate, but by the time this edition went to print, they had not yet had any answers for us.