Motorists driving along Chris Hani Road in Soweto were shocked Wednesday morning by the sight of women in various stages of undress in protest against the bucket system.
A short distance from where they stood, buckets of faeces had been emptied on the main road next to the hostel.
Some of the women had pulled their pants down and were squatting on the road. Others walked up and down next to the motorists with their pants down and their underwear exposed. Four of them pulled down their underwear, dancing and shaking their naked backsides at commuters.
One turned around and flashed her exposed crotch, as SAPS and Joburg metro police looked on.
Their protest began at 1am, accompanied by burning tyres positioned across the road.
Some motorists hooted, amused at what was going on, but others looked disgusted by the spectacle.
The protesters were undeterred, saying they wanted to send the strongest message possible.
The women, who live in the nearby Diepkloof Hostel, said by squatting on the road they were just simulating sitting on a toilet – toilets they do not have. They are forced to rely on the hated bucket system, which requires the weekly emptying of buckets.
But for the past three months, their buckets hadn’t been emptied, said resident Nonhlanhla Mbambo.
Hlengiwe Dlamini, another protester, said she was so desperate that she would have taken her protest to the next level: “If I was pressed I would have defecated on the road.
“That would have been better so that officials can see just how we are suffering. We call them to tell them of our problems but they don’t care.
“We are doing this so they can see what we need. They only come here when they want our votes,” said the visibly angry 32-year-old.
The residents said they were tired of their living conditions. They have no electricity and share a single tap.
Mbambo said their councillor visited them before the elections, promising houses and electricity, but they were yet to see a difference in their living conditions.
Evolution of the poo wars
* JUNE 4 2013: DA leader Helen Zille is forced to flee Khayelitsha as residents pelt her bus with human waste in protest against portaloos.
* JUNE 25 2013: Protesters dump buckets of faeces at Cape Town International Airport.
* JULY 2013: Some 100 Khayelitsha residents block the N2, burning tyres, dumping human waste on the road, halting traffic.
* August 7 2013: Cape Town’s poo protesters cause havoc on the N2 as they fling faeces at passing vehicles.
* OCTOBER 30 2013: Poo protesters dump human waste at the Western Cape legislature. A large group goes on the rampage in Long Street and St George’s Mall.
* February 24 2014: The ANC expels Loyiso Nkohla and suspends Andile Lili for a year, for heading marches which led residents to dump faeces at the Western Cape legislature and the airport.
* MARCH 26 2014: Andile Lili, Loyiso Nkohla and two others plead not guilty to contravening the waste act.