TSUMEB - Residents of Soweto, a residential area in Tsumeb, have resorted to fetching water from filthy public toilets and claim that they have no choice, because they happen to be the only source of water for household use.
One resident Rebecca Hengali says the taps inside the public toilets in Soweto are their only source of water at present and a real lifeline. She says residents have taken to using water in those toilets, despite the obvious health risks. “They are very helpful and important, we collect all our water from taps inside these toilets for drinking, cooking, washing and many other household uses. Everyone knows and agrees this practice is not sanitary or healthy, but it is our only source of water here,” Hengali told New Era. “You can call it a multipurpose centre if you like, because someone will be using the toilet to relieve themselves, while another will be collecting drinking or cooking water. We are stranded even though the toilets we get our water from are not clean it is better than nothing,” said another resident Shiweda Tulihongeni. “Yes we know it is unhygienic, but we need the water. What choice do we have? There are no taps in Soweto, the only taps are those inside the public toilets. The municipality must improve its service delivery, because these are not suitable living conditions for human beings, they do not even provide us with garbage bins,” said another resident Gabriel Joseph. Thousands of flies breed outside the public toilets, attracted by the stench of decomposing garbage ranging from used condoms, urine, faeces, used diapers to tampons among others. “We do not have garbage bins, so people have started dumping rubbish in front of the toilet.
The municipality collects the garbage, but with so many people in Soweto the area fills up with more rubbish before the day is over,” said Henghali. When it rains water from the dumpsite, as well as the toilets run into the nearby homes. “Our children are not healthy and constantly have runny stomachs due to the poor living conditions. Flies make their way into almost everything and are becoming a part of our diet here in Soweto, especially for those of us whose homes are near the public toilets,” said Joseph.
Tsumeb municipality CEO, Alfeus Benjamin, explained that people use the water from the public toilets, because they do not want pay for water. “Some people staying in that area have good jobs, the majority are well off. We are trying to manage the situation as best we can.
We put in water stands, but the people damage them because they do not want to pay for water. We put up burglar bars, but the people broke them down intentionally to get free water. People from Kuvukiland have also gotten wind of this and also started coming to Soweto for free water,” he said.
Benjamin conceded that the situation is far from ideal. On the absence of wheelie bins for domestic refuse he said Soweto was allocated its fair share of wheelies, but its residents instead use them for brewing tombo.
“We have not given up on Soweto, we cannot monitor them all the time and community members also need to take responsibility. In Soweto they have the mentality that they are entitled. The Kuvukiland informal settlement has more people, no electricity and no toilets, but these problems are not found there,” explained Benjamin.
By John Travolter Matali New Era Reporter
2014-02-19 08:34:56 | 5 years ago