THE repeated allegation that "for two years, 55 families in Makhaza, Khayelitsha, were forced to relieve themselves in full public view" is untrue, DA leader Helen Zille says.
Writing in her weekly newsletter yesterday, the Western Cape premier also slammed the ANC Youth League and the SA Human Rights Commission for their roles in the saga.
There were too many contradictions and unanswered questions and too few facts, she said.
"The media had repeatedly reported that the families were forced to relieve themselves in full public view for over two years. This was repeated so often, in various ways, that I believed it was true. I apologised in Parliament.
"But the more I thought about it, the less the story hung together: If this project started in 2007, why did I only hear about it in January 2010? Why did no one protest sooner? Even more mystifying was, why the ANC didn't use it against me in the run-up to the 2009 election? And most puzzling of all, why did Andile Lili, the project's paid facilitator since 2008 (as well as a local ANCYL leader), only start to protest when the project was 96percent complete? Indeed, given that he was the project facilitator, why was he protesting at all?" Zille asked.
"The answer is simply this: there were, in fact, no open toilets in 2007 or 2008 or indeed until the end of 2009.
"The 55 toilets that remained open were those installed in the very final stage of the upgrading project - in November 2009 when 96percent of the 1316 toilets provided for each family had already been enclosed.
"For some reason, the last 55 were not." Following a newspaper photograph of an open toilet in January 2010, mayor Dan Plato immediately ordered them to be covered, despite the objections of the 1261 families who had enclosed their own toilets.
But on January 25, when the city arrived to enclose the toilets, they were prevented from doing so by a small group of people claiming to represent "the community".
Two subsequent attempts to erect enclosures were thwarted when the ANCYL tore them down, despite almost all the individual families requesting, in writing, that the city enclose their toilets, she said. - Sapa