After 21 years of democracy in South Africa some residents at Orange farm, south of Johannesburg are still using pit hole toilets. Residents of Drieziek 5 Squatter Camp have no access to proper sanitation, water and basic services even though they have stayed there for more than 7 years.
Dirty, degrading and stinking toilets welcome you when you enter the area and pose a danger to people who have to use them. One of the women residing there, Bella Buthelezi shares her pit hole toilet with more than 25 people daily. Wearing her blue vest and orange hat, Bella said they are for- tunate so far because no one has been reported to have fallen inside the toilets even though they are not in good condition.
However it was discovered that illnesses such as chicken- pox, measles, tuberculosis (TB), thrush, worms, hand, foot and mouth diseases are common illnesses that affect residents of that area since they are caused by a lack of adequate sanitation. However, Mapo Somana who is the deputy head nurse at Imbalenhle Clinic in Drieziek dismissed claims that residents of that area suffer from these illnesses. “We only have accidents but not illnesses related to pit hole toilets but only accidents of children falling inside,” Somana said. Member of Mayoral Commi ee for housing, Councillor, Dan Dovu after a violent community protest last year promised to relocate residents to a serviced residential area by the end of February but to this day these residents are still stuck in Drieziek 5 Squa er Camp.
On the 1st of March this year they barricaded the Golden Highway with burning tyres demanding to see the Member of Mayoral Commi ee (MMC), Councillor Dan Bovu who responded by saying residents will be moved from the squatter camp to a newly serviced place between July and August.
According to one community member who refused to be named, the community was told that the new settlement would be serviced with ventilated improved pit latrines. They refused the ‘VIPs’ believing that if temporary structures are in place, the government won’t see the need to remove them from the squatter camp.
“If they don’t come and move us as promised, then all hell will break loose and we will empty our toilets at the Mayoral Committee’s office,” she added.