Cape Town - The City of Cape Town has spent over R13 million repairing stolen or vandalised flush toilets and standpipes in the past six months, it said on Wednesday.
“The over R13 million spent has been on, among others, replacing and repairing stolen taps, broken taps, stolen handles, broken standpipes, stolen hand-basins, blocked toilets, and damaged toilet structures,” mayoral committee member for utility services Ernest Sonnenberg said in a statement.
The repairs were done between July 1 and December 31 last year. Sonnenberg said the money could have been used to improve the water and sanitation conditions in the city's informal settlements.
“When a few destructive individuals illegally and selfishly destroy city infrastructure, they not only place a huge demand on the department's budget which could be avoided, but most importantly, obstruct the provision of basic services to the broader community.”
The city planned to install 1300 flush toilets in this financial year to the Imizamo Yethu, France, RR Section, Dunoon, Rasta Camp, and Lansdowne Road informal settlements.
The number of toilets had risen from 14 591 in 2006 to more than 40 700, Sonnenberg said.
In May, the city approached the Western Cape High Court after groups of people disrupted the servicing of container and portable flush toilets (PFTs) in informal settlements.
At the time, former Sannicare janitors responsible for cleaning communal toilets blocked part of the N2 highway with burning tyres and dumped faeces on the road.
Some residents of Barcelona and Kanana informal settlements apparently removed some of the container toilets from the neighbouring informal settlement, Europe, to close down the highway.
An interim interdict was obtained against 89 former Sannicare employees and seven residents of Ward 40, associated with the ANC Youth League.
The interim order prohibited the named individuals from interfering with service delivery, city staff, and property. A second protest took place in the vicinity about a week after the interdict was granted.
In protests against rolling out the PFTs human waste was thrown on, among others, the steps of the Western Cape legislature and at provincial premier Helen Zille's convoy.