Only two toilets for whole town
Durban - Thousands of people visiting Mtubatuba have to either “hold it in” or pay service stations to use their facilities as the town faces an embarrassing shortage of toilets.
The town only has two working public toilets that are partly broken, with one requiring users to “bucket flush” after use, and, sources say, they often have long queues stretching outside.
Mtubatuba mayor Israel Nyawo blamed the shortage on the water crisis in the area.
Residents say the problems are not limited to toilets, but extend to council infrastructure including roads that are crumbling, a problem with litter, a lack of cleanliness, and sewage running in the street.
“This whole town has only two working toilets,” said a source in the council. “On the days that people are using those toilets, they have to queue outside - you would swear they were going to collect their pension. Once you have used the toilet, you are given a bucket of water to flush it. It’s a very embarrassing situation.”
The source said there were more than 120 000 registered voters in the municipality, never mind the children under the age of 16 who were too young to register.
“The town can also host around 3 000 people per day and they all have to use the toilets,” he said.
The municipality had a population of about 175 425 (source, Census 2011: Municipal Fact Sheet).
The source said even in the community there were no toilets. “They (the council) started (installing toilets) in Ward 16 and stopped. Then they decided only the poor families would get government-funded toilets. The broader community did not get the toilets that had been promised to them.”
The source said the municipality was struggling at almost every level of service provision.
“Sewage is running in the street. You look where you are going to put your foot down.
“The town is quite filthy, if you look. It has probably not been cleaned for at least the past week.”
The supply of water was a constant problem and there were potholes in the roads.
IFP councillor Qhina Mkhwanazi confirmed that there were only two working public toilets in the town.
“The thousands of people who come to the town daily are forced to be serviced by these two toilets.”
He said there were also no water tanks in the town to assist with drinking water.
“The toilets might be closed because of the water shortage. They cannot all be opened as there is a drought.”
He said the problems of filth and sewage were rare.
“There are occasional problems with sewage, but those are quickly resolved.”
Msawakhe Mayisela of the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs said Mtubatuba had had challenges, which might have affected service provision. He pleaded for patience as the provincial department was working hard to turn all struggling municipalities around.