22 March 2019

South Africa: Give Us Water Not Toilets, Say Newcastle Residents

Residents of the fast-growing settlement of Manzana village in Newcastle have been provided with pit toilets - but no water.

In 2010, the residents of Manzana were provided with pit toilets. Nine years later they are being provided with new toilets. But what they want is communal taps with clean water.

Some villagers have resorted to illegal water connections from nearby Osizweni township in order to have access to clean water.

Resident Themba Mhlongo said the old toilets had not been drained as promised, and could no longer be used.

"Now they are providing us with toilets once again, while we don't have communal taps to provide us with clean water which is what should have been prioritised a long time ago."

He said a water truck came once a week, if that, and did not provide enough water for the growing settlement. There are 80 families in Manzana.

"Illegal water connection is not good, but water is a necessity and residents are desperate for it. What we need now are communal taps, not these toilets," complained Mhlongo.

Ward councillor Happiness Mkhwanazi told GroundUp that she was not aware of the residents' concerns. She said the toilets provided dignity for residents and this time would be properly drained.

Mkhwanazi a communal tap project was "in the pipeline" in the current financial year. Meanwhile she said, the municipality had promised that the water truck would come regularly.

"But illegal water connections won't be tolerated at all", said Mkhwanazi.

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