Parliament slams officials over lack of toilets

PARLIAMENT has demanded that Gauteng's housing and local government department instal temporary toilets immediately in an impoverished settlement north of Johannesburg.

Yesterday the human settlements committee slammed the department's chiefs for failing to solve problems identified by Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale when he spent a night in a Diepsloot shack in August.

Sexwale's sleepover followed community protests about a lack of services. Standing in a pool of sewage at the time, Sexwale said residents were living in "inhumane conditions".

His visit was dismissed by some as a publicity stunt but Parliament has taken it seriously and summoned the department yesterday to provide answers.

ANC MP Mtwabantu Matshoba said temporary toilets had to be installed throughout Diepsloot - by next Friday.

"Where you get them is not our business," he told the head of Gauteng's local government and housing department Linda Ngcobo.

"We cannot accept that after the minister's visit there were talks - but today you as the project manager do not know what is happening," cCommittee chairperson Nomhle Dambuza said.

"If I ask you whether you can afford not to have sanitation for one day and you cannot, what is so difficult for you to provide temporary sanitation services to those people?" she asked.

Dambuza warned Ngcobo that Parliament has "had enough of communities being overlooked and undermined by our own machinery".

"People are living without toilets while officials driving around in flashy cars cannot live without toilets for one day," she said.

"We are serious. I am telling you enough is enough," Dambuza said.

Ngcobo told the MPs there were meant to be more ventilated pit latrines in the area "but I don't know what happened to that".