21 February 2019

South Africa: Toilets Overflow and Taps Run Dry in Enkanini

Residents vow to continue protesting until the problem is fixed

The residents of Enkanini informal settlement in Khayelitsha have been living with an irregular water supply for six months. This means they have to often relieve themselves in blocked toilets.

On Tuesday last week, the shack dwellers had had enough. They have been protesting outside the sub-council offices and the Kuyasa Library, demanding that the City of Cape Town fix their blocked toilets and the water supply.

Community leader Myolisi Magibisela pointed to damaged water taps and toilets filled with sand. The stench of excrement was everywhere.

He said the protest would continue until the City met the community's demands. "When residents come back from work in the evenings, they don't get water to cook, drink and wash." And there is no water to flush the blocked toilets.

Nwabisa Tena, who stays with two children, has her uncle in nearby Makhaza bring her water in his car. When he isn't around, she balances a 25 litre container on her head and walks a few kilometres from Makhaza to Enkanini. But when the wind blows hard, she can't balance the container and then she has to go without water, so she buys bread to feed her children.

Nosango Tologu lives with her husband and her two children in a shack near the toilets. "Flies and maggots leave the toilets and come into my shack. When I ask janitors why they don't clean the toilets, they say they have no chemicals to remove dirt," she says.

Noluvo Magadlela works as a domestic worker and looks after five children. She pays youths R5 to collect water from Chris Hani Train Station every day, 20-minutes from where she works. She has been broke and now owes them money - rands she would rather use to buy soap, bread, milk and electricity, she said.

Ward Councillor Andile Lili said he had visited Enkanini on Sunday to investigate the complaints. He said he informed the Portfolio Committee on Water and Sanitation.

Mayco Member for Water Xanthea Limberg said that officials had visited the area and found that although there is no problem with the supply of water and water pressure, there was a problem with vandalized standpipes and illegal connections. She said that illegal connections diverted water away from the public standpipes. She said the flow has now been increased from a nearby valve to fix the problem.

But Nwabisa Teba, a resident, said that nothing has changed. She was still battling to get water on Thursday afternoon.

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