The uThukela District Mayor Inkosi Shabalala this week cleared the air on the situation regarding pit toilet installations, after accusations about favouritism surfaced, saying that the local government built 60 toilets on two separate properties.
An investigation into these allegations regarding the toilets in Ward 20 was launched, according to Shabalala.
The uThukela municipality in western KwaZulu-Natal held a briefing on Wednesday to address the allegations surrounding the pit toilets.
The municipality had been working since the beginning of the year on delivering ventilated, improved pit latrines, or VIP toilets, as they are referred to, Shabalala explained.
The municipality applied for the toilets from the Department of Sanitation, but it did not receive enough for every ward in the district.
Normally, the municipal government would hand over 100 toilets per ward, but they ran into a shortage.
Shabalala said the process of handing over the toilets involves the local ward councillor, who receives the toilets and distributes them within his/her ward.
Around 60 toilets were then delivered to two neighbouring farms and not two families, as it is alleged, the municipality said.
The terrain of the area where the 60 toilets were delivered was not conducive to construction, Shabalala said, so the residents who were going to use them, found a suitable area to house the toilets.
Shabalala said the residents in question previously went up into the mountains to relieve themselves.
The residents found a more suitable area to house the VIP toilets and managed the allocation of toilets among themselves.
"There’s also one big family who has also put up their own facilities there, and the community has reached an agreement among themselves on how they were going to arrange their own toilet facilities,” Shabalala explained.
Last week, IOL reported on the calls for a probe into the allegations that the uThukela Municipality built 60 toilets for two families in Ladysmith.
uThukela councillor and People’s Assembly leader, Nkosinathi Mthethwa, called on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Bongi Sithole-Moloi to investigate the claims.
“The reason I ask her to come is because it will be difficult for anyone to believe this until seeing for oneself. I do not know what was going on in the minds of the people who were doing this,” Mthethwa told the Daily News.