The Daily News visited three public toilets in the Durban CBD to explore the available options.
One facility required users, before entering, to obtain toilet paper from eThekwini Municipality workers.
Another had a pool of urine at the entrance. One toilet was fairly clean, but this was apparently because employees bought cleaning supplies with their own money.
The “clean public bathroom” as asserted by women spoken to by the Daily News, was at a bus depot near The Workshop shopping centre.
“Yes, I use the bathroom and I find it to be clean, but I wish it stayed open later,” said a woman who worked nearby as a food vendor. She spoke on condition of anonymity.
Another who relied on public transport and also did not want to be named, spoke about the poor operations of the facility.
“There are not enough workable taps and there is no soap, which every public bathroom should have to avoid the spread of infection,” she said.
Staff at the bus depot toilets said they often had to pay for their own cleaning supplies.
They also said their salaries were often delayed.
The supervisor, who worked there for more than a decade, said her duties entailed cleaning the inside and outside of the bathrooms. She complained that vagrants often messed the toilets.
Outside the facility, broken bottles and dirty tissues were scattered about and the area smelt of rubbish and urine.
Another set of toilets at the Inanda taxi rank had only one functioning unit. A pool of urine caused by a nearby broken drain almost blocked the entrance.
The cleaning attendant, who did not want to be named, said she had to use buckets to flush the toilets.
“I told the owner many times about the toilet that was not flushing. She said she would call the plumber. This was about two months ago,” she said.
At the facility opposite the Durban Post Office, users had to obtain toilet paper from employees before entering. Two out of the seven taps were broken and covered with bags.
The ceilings were damaged and contained mould, which an employee said was caused by rain more than a decade ago.
She also said some sinks were broken for “about a year”.
In response, Mandla Nsele, the acting head of communications at the municipality, said: “The public restrooms are managed by different departments, and taxi rank facilities are contracted out, but ablution facilities are inspected daily.”
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