This week the Pretoria News spoke to countless people on the streets, listening to their frustrations regarding the filth and faeces scattered along the city’s side-walks and urine stains against walls and pavements.
They said filth against the walls of some landmark department buildings and facilities like Church Square, The National Treasury, the Palace of Justice, the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court and the abandoned building behind Tshwane House had become the norm.
The stench produced by the faeces and urine was most intense early in the morning, according to residents.
Joseph Tshifaro was cleaning the pay toilets he operates on Church Square, a job he has been doing for 13 years, when the Pretoria News spoke to him. He said many homeless people and drug addicts felt free to relieve themselves anywhere they liked in the CBD.
He said many culprits were brazen enough to relieve themselves in daylight if they wanted to.
“These things are done by the homeless people and drug addicts sleeping in the CBD. Their behaviour intensified when the DA-led administration took over and let go of security officers that used to guard the CBD and chase these guys from Church Square.
“These guys are very aggressive, and we have to approach them in groups to chase them from here, but it’s now affecting the tourists who come to Church Square to take photos.
“You can walk around Church Square and take deep breaths and you’ll tell this place smells like urine. You can even see the stains on the walls,” said Tshifaro.
Lawyers carrying briefcases and street vendors pulling trolleys with mealies and boiled eggs could be seen jumping and walking over excrement and trying to avoid urine.
This situation has become an eyesore and many residents and those who work in the CBD are demanding that the City do more to provide free public toilets in the CBD, since the homeless and drug addicts accused of this behaviour are unlikely to go away.
City spokesperson Lindela Mashigo said the municipality had embarked on a cleaning campaign meant to raise awareness about the importance of taking care of the environment, and utilising services like waste bins provided by the City. He encouraged people in the City to utilise the facilities provided, and to also avoid littering to keep the environment clean and healthy.