Shehaam Sims

MayCO member for Utility Services Shehaam Sims responds:

Are the portable chemical toilets cleaned by the janitorial service?

Sims: No. There is a contractor that cleans chemical toilets, but the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) janitors perform a separate function: the cleaning and reporting of faulty full flush toilets.

We saw that many flush toilets were flooded and some were blocked.

Residents say the janitors do not clean on the inside and so they clean the toilets themselves.

Sims: This is due to huge piles of waste that are dumped at the back of toilets, creating a slope.

The matter is aggravated by “canals” and/or rivers that are adjacent to the toilets.

It is difficult and challenging for the EPWP janitors to access such areas, but an agreement was reached with the Department of Roads and Stormwater and the Department of Human Settlements to level the stockpiles and throw sand on the wet areas. After this has occurred, the Informal Settlement Unit will raise the toilet levels so they are at a higher level than the road.

The toilets were locked with padlocks. Did the city provide the padlocks? If so, is there a key system in place for residents who share a toilet?

Sims: After the installation of full flush toilets, the community took it upon themselves to allocate keys according to the standard norms of five families utilising one toilet.

We visited BM, Taiwan and RR sections. Could you please give us an indication of the ratio of people per toilet?

Sims: In BM there are 644 full flush toilets, 930 portable toilets and one ablution block. The population size count of 2011 was 5 653. The ratio is less than 1:7. It should be noted that the ratio excludes the ablution block.

In RR section there are 188 full flush toilets, 579 portable toilets, 100 chemical toilets and one ablution block. The number of households was 4 000 in 2011. The ratio is less than 1:12. It should be noted that the ratio excludes the ablution block. There are plans to add more full flush toilets in this area.

In Taiwan there are 57 full flush toilets, 104 portable toilets and one ablution block. The population size amounts to 5 542 households.

Residents said they don’t feel safe using the toilet at night.

Sims: Water and Sanitation have no plans to electrify full flush toilets, but plans are under way to electrify ablution blocks. The city is sensitive to the security issues at night and will provide portable flush toilets. The request can be made through the councillor.

How often are the janitors supposed to clean the toilets?

Sims: EPWP janitors work from Monday till Friday, eight hours a day.

We saw a number of toilets that were abandoned. We counted 12 flush toilets that were not working and no longer had septic tanks. They were filled with dried faeces. How many flush toilets are not working and how many are operational in Khayelitsha?

Sims: Full flush toilets are maintained by District Depots. Faulty toilets are reported via C3 notifications; residents are encouraged to report faulty toilets. EPWP workers also report faulty toilets and maintenance teams respond.