Viljoenskroon News

Open Toilets in Rammulotsi

Posted on 28 Jul 2011
IT's not only in Cape Town where less privileged residents have to squat in the open when nature calls.

For seven years, some residents in Viljoenskroon's Rammulotsi township have been using open toilets similar to those that caused a national uproar in Cape Town's Khayelitsha.

Others either choose to use pit latrines or erect temporary walls around the open toilets using corrugated iron sheets.

There are about 1 600 open toilets in Rammulotsi which were erected in 2003.

What's making Rammulotsi residents furious is that the ANC-run Moqhaka Municipality has failed to enclose the open toilets despite receiving millions of rands from the government.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) says the municipality received R8.5 million from the national Department of Human Settlements.

The local administration also requested an additional R4.2 million from the municipal budget, according to DA councillor Debbie Shahim.

But the municipality has only built walls for 52 toilets since Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Sicelo Shiceka sent a delegation to the small cattle and maize farming town last year.

"Since his delegation visited the town only a few toilets were built," Shahim told the Free State Times this week.

"Why has the project stopped? Where did the money come from for those 52 toilets?"

Shahim accused the municipality of abusing funds meant for the toilets.

"The poor people are suffering, and all the authorities want is to get more money which they end up not using," she said.

Mariette Pittaway, another DA councillor in the municipality, said she opposed the request for additional funding for the open toilets during a council meeting in February.

"The Democratic Alliance does agree that these toilets should be enclosed, but the funds must be obtained from the Department of Human Settlements," Pittaway said.

"It is not the ratepayer's duty to pay for a mistake the ANC made and the municipality can barely pay Eskom (for electricity supplies)."

Residents are angry about the situation.

Willem Tsiba, 66, a resident of Rammulotsi, said he had given up on the municipality which has "failed to respect my dignity".

Tsiba has had to use corrugated iron to cover his toilet for some privacy when nature calls.

But the toilet does not have a roof and when it rains "no-one can use it".

"I have never asked the municipality anything and I have just left it like this," he told the Free State Times.

"They cannot tell me they forgot about these toilets when many of us are using them."

Another resident, Oompie Takalo, said it saddened him that his neighbours got their toilet enclosed by the municipality.

His is still covered with corrugated iron sheets.

"I just want to have a decent toilet," Takalo said.

Moqhaka Municipality spokeswoman Veronica Ntepe confirmed receiving questions from Free State Times but by time of going to print she had not yet responded.
Source: Kamogelo Seekoei Viljoenskroon

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