The recently launched toilet project at BM Section in Khayelitsha has not been effective because the toilets close at 17:30 in spite of the minister’s promise that the community would have access 24 hours a day. Unveiled by Nomvula Mokonyane, the Minister of Water and Sanitation, the project at BM Section informal settlement in Site B and at the BT informal settlement in Site C consist of 10 flush toilets each – five for women and five for men
BM section street committees claim that they were made puppets after the minister and councillor of ward 93, Amos Komeni launched a pilot project of toilets in the area. “We were not consulted as street committees when this project started and we did not even know the minister was coming to our area” said Anditha Shaweni, 40.
“This is a top-down approach that we don’t like from our government,” Nomzi Mxesibe added, “We are just like puppets in their eyes, it’s funny because I am always available if they wanted to involve us they know where to find me”
Residents are happy about the project but they also complain about the time that the toilets are being closed “we are really happy to have clean and safe toilets that are nearby but this happiness ends when EPWP workers close the toilets when their shift ends at 5:30pm,” said Noluthando Fatu, 22.
Two security guards are meant to be deployed in each facility all day and residents will have access 24 hours a day.
Nozuko Pikoko and Khayakazi Gatyeni currently are the ones responsible for the opening and closing of the toilets, “we open and close them 7:00am to 5:30pm, but they said they will find someone to guard the toilets even after we are gone so meaning they will open 24/7” they said.
Councillor of ward 93, Amos Komeni said these are all just wild allegations “A consultation has been done properly and this project was addressed in a rally. Councillor Nqulwana was there, and coming to this issue of the toilet being closed at 5:30pm, the minister has promised to find someone to guard and open to the toilets 24/7, so we are still waiting on the minister.”
The project is meant to be an interim solution to the sanitation problem in the area.