A lawyer acting for 51 families from Makhaza in Khayelitsha, whose toilets were removed by the government, is at war with Legal Aid South Africa.

Attorney Themba Langa said Legal Aid wanted the families to prove they were not ANC Youth League members before it funded them.

The families are at the centre of the "open air toilet debacle" in which the city provided toilets without enclosures, forcing people to relieve themselves in full view of their neighbours.

The city later provided zinc enclosures that were smashed up by the ANCYL. The city then removed the 51 toilets completely, saying the families would only get them back if they erected their own enclosures first.

The 51 families now want to take the City of Cape Town and Western Cape provincial government to court to force them to put back the toilets.

Langa said he asked Legal Aid to fund the case "but they came back to us and said they need proof that this is not an ANCYL action, and they also need to see a constitution".

"I don't know of any township that has a constitution" Langa told Sowetan.

"The South African Human Rights Commission has already ruled that the city must return the toilets and build brick enclosures so Legal Aid can't take their own political approach."

Legal Aid spokesperson Christopher Motabogi said his organisation was not involved in this matter in any way.

"We have not been approached by any member of the Makhaza community for legal assistance."

But Legal Aid South Africa executive Ahmed Mayet confirmed to Sowetan that the community had asked Legal Aid to fund the case.

He denied Langa's allegations and said Legal Aid did not care if the families were politically affiliated.

Mayet said Legal Aid had only asked if Langa had a mandate from the community for the case.