Unserviced toilets, taps frustrate residents

This used to be a tap before it was vandalised.

Residents from UT Sobambisana informal settlement, in Khayelitsha, say their communal toilets and taps have not been serviced for almost a year.

The area reeks of faeces pouring out of broken toilet pipes.

Some toilet doors have been vandalised while others have been stolen.

Taps have also been stolen.

The residents said that when the taps and toilets had been installed there had been enough facilities for everyone to use but not any more.

They told Vukani that a growing number of families had to share one toilet and that was a health hazard.

Community leader Gcobani Kaleni said they had informed City officials many times about the problem and even suggested what needed to be done.

He said the toilets and taps were vandalised constantly because criminals stole the metal to sell at the scrapyard.

Their main fear now is that the few remaining working toilets and taps will also be vandalised, leaving them without vital ablution facilities.

He said they had suggested that the City install plastic toilet doors and taps to deter criminals.

However, he said, the City had ignored their suggestions and the toilets had since remained in an unusable state.

Mr Kaleni said an area close to them no longer had taps due to vandalism so residents there had been forced to get water from their taps and that could creates unnecessary conflict among people.

“These criminals steal the taps at night when everyone is asleep. We have exhausted all the avenues, but it seems that the City could care less about our plight.

“Our suggestion is simply that we want the City to install plastic taps and toilet doors because when these criminal steal these zinc and iron taps they want to sell them to the scrapyard and get a quick fix.

“If they do not change this, the criminals will continue vandalising the toilets and taps.”

Mr Kaleni said the situation in the area was unbearable.

“You step on sh*t as you walk past kids who are relieving themselves outside their family shacks. When we do laundry at the toilet taps, we breathe an unbearable stench from the dirty loos.

“We want the City to send plumbers to take the old toilets apart, clean the pipes, toilet seats and cisterns or replace the toilets with new ones.”

Ward councillor Thando Mpengesi said he had raised all these concerns with the relevant City officials but had only received promise after promise and nothing had been done to address them.

Now, he said, residents would assume that he had not raised their grievances.

Mayoral committee member for water and waste Xanthea Limberg said she was not aware of the matter and was surprised the toilets and taps had not been working for almost a year.

Ms Limberg said when they received such complaints they conducted an assessment to determine what could be done to resolve the matter.

She said the assessment helped to see whether they needed to do repairs or replace equipment.

But she promised the residents that officials would be dispatched into the area to do a site visit.