DA requests Human Rights Commission to investigate settlements without toilets

Dacre Haddon MPL

Shadow MEC for Local Government

One in eight households in the Eastern Cape do not have toilets. The DA has today requested the Human Rights Commission to investigate all settlements without proper sanitation in the province after visits to various communities.

I have made this plea on behalf of the DA after personally visiting various communities and receiving information of settlements where inadequate or no toilets and sanitation exist. All our people have the right to decent standards of sanitation.

The results of the 2011 Census revealed that the Eastern Cape had the highest number of households – one out of eight — who had no toilets, the highest number of households with no access to piped water, the highest number of households that relied on rivers and streams for their main source of water and the highest number of households relying on animal dung as an energy source for cooking.

People throughout the province continue to live in squalor and without human dignity while funding is diverted to host events such as the Afcon soccer tournament. Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality has cut R11.6-million from its annual service-delivery budget to pay for the event.

My request to the Human Rights Commission is with reference to section 24 of the Bill of Rights in our Constitution, that everyone has the right to live in an environment that is not harmful to their health.

In August last year I visited Khayeltisha settlement near Chintsa. The Great Kei municipality delivered a few temporary toilets the day they heard the DA was going to visit this settlement. Since then the toilets have never been cleaned. The prospect of large scale epidemics of typhoid and cholera pose a major health risk in this and other communities.

During a visit in November to the Zolani- and Phapamani settlements in Makana, I found that the majority of residents used pit toilets and dug trenches and furrows as make-shift sanitation contraptions to wash away the sewage.

In Despatch in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, the Mooi Valley, Mahashe Village and Kriekie Valley settlements have derelict, temporary toilets.

These toilets were constructed just prior to the 2011 local government elections as an election ploy for the ruling party to garner votes.

Furthermore, I was informed by Francois Greyling, the DA councillor for ward 52 in Despatch, that the Metro was considering giving this community buckets as a temporary toilet measure.

The bucket system is an archaic undignified toilet solution. Politically there is a move to eradicate this disgraceful system.

Requests to the mayoral forum of the Metro and to officials of Makana and Great Kei have been ignored and nothing has been done to assist these communities.

Communities are increasingly rebelling against lack of service delivery and basic rights such as decent hygiene.

We can no longer afford a bloated bureaucracy that does not give value for money when it comes to service delivery.

Supplying decent standards of sanitation will assist in lifting communities out of poverty and giving people the opportunities to better themselves and be productive while living in a healthy environment.

Image: DA MPL Dacre Haddon in Zolani settlement in Makana, where residents are forced to dig trenches to lead sewage away from their homes.

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