Residents in the "encane" (small) area of Imbali Unit 18 outside Pietermaritzburg say the pit toilets they use were built in 1985. They are now full and broken. Residents told GroundUp they have raised the matter with the current and previous ward councillors but to no avail.
The toilets have broken doors and broken or missing seats. Nora Dladla, a 64-year-old resident says, "I balance with both my hands on the sides when I release myself. I can't sit down."
She said, "With every new elected ward councillor our first discussion is the toilet issue. The matter is still the same. It is getting worse."
Thoko Hlongwa said her five-year-old granddaughter almost fell down the toilet. "The toilets are shaky. Children no longer use these toilets. When you get inside they move. You have to monitor children."
She said there was no space to build a new toilet. "I cannot build the toilet in the garden. I use it to plant vegetables," said Hlongwa.
Some residents have built their own flush toilets. One such resident, who did not want his name published, said using amateur plumbers had not worked well. "The sewerage system is not proper. That causes the drains to cross over to other houses. Neighbours are complaining about the drain flow. It causes a smell. There is nothing we can do. It is up to the municipality to sort out the matter. We need an adequate sewerage system and toilets." he said.
Ward 15 councillor Jabulani Nene (ANC) said the Msunduzi Municipality was working on the matter. "If not in October, in early January there will be proper sewerage. Sometimes the delay is caused by the officials. It's not negligence from the councillor's side."