Toilet challenges in Setswetla

Alexandra, Gauteng, South Africa

Setswetla is an informal settlement in Alexandra township, which is located barely 5km from Sandton. There is no electricity, residents rely on bucket and pit toilets, there are no tar roads. People use communal water taps and there are no recreation facilities. All homes in Setswetla are shacks, some perched on the Jukskei riverbank and next to an illegal dumping spot. During his administration president Thabo Mbeki announced plans and strategies to eradicate the demeaning and unhygienic bucket system but it lingers on, even increasing in some areas. The Department of Water and Sanitation also outlined more plans to eradicate it, but even today people of Setswetla are still using the system. Shirley Mabunda, a resident since 1997, who stays in a one-roomed shack with her three children, grand child and her boyfriend says there has not been improvement in the living condi ons of Setswetla.

“Toilets are worse. When you come out of those toilets you smell very bad. This place is not good for people to stay in because it is very dirty there are a lot of rats,” she added.

During his administration president Thabo Mbeki announced plans and strategies to eradicate the demeaning and unhygienic bucket system but it lingers on, even increasing in some areas. The Department of Water and Sanitation also outlined more plans to eradicate it, but even today people of Setswetla are still using the system. Shirley Mabunda, a resident since 1997, who stays in a one roomed shack with her three children, grand child and her boyfriend says there has not been improvement in the living conditions of Setswetla.” Toilets are worse, when you come out of those toilets you smell very bad.

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This place is not good for people to stay in because it is very dirty there are lot of rats,” she added.
The sanitation crisis at Setswetla has continued unabated despite government promises to fix all toilet issues. Shirley said that some people have their own pit toilet system, built inside their shacks and you can not eat your food happily because of the smell and odour from those toilets. The biggest challenge is that we do not even know our ward councillor, where we can go and complain about our burning issues in this informal se lement.

Setswetla is the poorest informal settlement in Alexandra township. The problem of crime and crime control has reached crisis proportions in the area.”You cannot go to the toilet at night, you have to make a plan as the crime is very high here. It is not safe in this place,” said Shirley. In its 2014 report on the Right to Access Sufficient Water and Decent Sanitation in South Africa, the South African Human Rights Commission found out that approximately 1.4 million households, formal and informal, still have to be provided with sanitation services. According to the report the households have never had a government-supported sanitation intervention.

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About Norman Ngobeni 4 Articles
My interest in broadcasting and print media stems from the ability of media to relate to different people in very personal and interactive ways. I have true passion, talent and determination for media. My interest is in media as an art, I have a vision of being the best Journalist and therefore I set my sight on being the best. I want give a louder voice to all those people that are ignored by mainstream media