THE City of Cape Town has completely removed the controversial open-air toilets in Makhaza, Khayelitsha.
City authorities swooped on the area early yesterday morning and had 65 toilets dismantled by 9.30am.
Residents in the area will now have to go back to sharing one toilet between five families.
Only after all the toilets were removed did Cape Town mayor Dan Plato call a press conference to explain that the city was removing the toilets.
His spokesperson, Rulleska, Singh said the city only informed the media after removing the toilets because "last week there was incitement and violence and intimidation when people were informed and the press were there, so we wanted to make less of a scene".
The controversy started three months ago when the ANC Youth League lodged a complaint with the Human Rights Commission after discovering that the toilets were built in the open air.
People had to cover themselves with blankets every time they answered the call of nature.
The city claimed that residents of the area had demanded one toilet per family, and had promised in 2007 to build their own structures around the toilets.
But residents denied making this deal and called on the city to build proper concrete enclosures around the toilets.
The situation turned ugly when the city instead built zinc and wooden shacks around the toilets. The ANC Youth League trashed the toilets completely, demolishing the zinc structures.
Singh said residents would get their toilets back once they had lived up to the 2007 agreement, and built their own enclosures.
Residents in the area told Sowetan last week that they wanted proper houses with toilets inside, because zinc structures often blew away in the wind.
But Singh said the city would never build concrete enclosures for the toilets because the land was earmarked for housing development.
"We can't lay down so many concrete foundations because that would impede the housing development," she said.
Meanwhile, Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana said the ANC Youth League should not have trashed the toilets last week.
"It's important we support the (Western Cape) youth league's campaign against open toilets, but (they) should be highly disciplined," Mdladlana told a meeting in Gugulethu on Sunday.