He said it was always intended to be a temporary measure, and in a recent strategic development plan, the municipality recorded that it provides the chemical toilets as an interim service, while proper sanitation is delivered parallel to this.
“But it is evident that this is not interim. Nearly a decade after the chemical toilets were introduced, it is apparent that what was intended to be an interim sanitation service is now permanent.
“It has recently come to our attention that the municipality has issued and awarded a tender for the provision of the toilets for another three years,” said Nhlapo.
Residents had repeatedly pointed out that they risk their safety using the toilets positioned out on the streets without lighting. They also cannot be locked.
Used by multiple households, they are hard to keep clean and they are not cleaned according to the schedule. “They are filthy, smell, and are a petri dish for disease,” the applicants said.
Some residents have even resorted to using their old pit latrines. Others had taken it upon themselves to fence in those toilets close to them to stop others from using them.
“We will permanently remain in limbo without access to adequate housing and basic services,” said Nhlapo. “It is a gross violation of our constitutional rights. We have no other option but to approach the court to compel the municipality to fulfil its obligation to us.”
The municipality has filed a notice of its intention to oppose the application
• This article was first published by GroundUp.