As the community of Blowey informal settlement are battling to put their lives together again, the issue of poor services in the area is like a monkey on their backs.
Residents of Blowey informal settlement where 342 shacks were engulfed by fire this past weekend have been rebuilding their shacks. The community has a long history of poor services. Like all informal settlements the area has communal taps and toilets.
Resident Fezeka Fokwana-Ngabom, whose house was not affected by the fire, said that the majority of the communal toilets do not flush because they are expected to bring the water to flush the toilet. “You must always bring a bucket with you otherwise you won’t be able to flush whatever business you were doing down the toilet,” she said. Fokwana-Ngabom said that going to the toilets at night is out of question for women. “As women we are compelled to use our own buckets at night and in the morning you must take it to the toilet to flush it,” stated the 53-year-old.
Her views were echoed by 29-year-old Lebohang Mabi. “We always use the bucket to flush down because the toilets don’t flush,” she said. According to Mabi, even during the day she has to have someone accompany her to the toilets which are about 150 metres from her place. In March 2016, Sinoxolo Mafevuka was raped and murdered and her body was dumped in a communal toilet in Blowey informal settlement.
Both Mabi and Fokwana-Ngabom complained about the stench of the toilets.
Another Blowey resident, Sakhe Nkalabe who was fetching water with a bucket from the communal taps complained about the low pressure flow from the taps. “It takes about 10 minutes to fill up a 20-litre bucket and when there is a queue of people it means you can spend about an hour just collecting water,” he said. Nkalabe said that because of the bad smell around the toilets he doesn’t drink the water he collects from the tap. He instead uses it for laundry and cleaning.
“It’s been a while since I have seen the cleaners coming to clean the mess outside of the toilets. There are two types of cleaners, those who clean inside the toilets and those who clean outside,” complained Nkalabe.
According to City of Cape Town’s media manager, Luthando Tyhalibongo, the janitorial services have been “put on hold due to unavailability of a service provider for the inoculation of the janitors required. We can confirm that a service provider has since been procured and a schedule for inoculations is in place. The commencement of the cleaning service is envisaged to happen at the beginning of November 2018.”