No to ‘white elephant’ loos
They stand head and shoulders above the rest of the informal houses in the shanty town of Ramaphosa Village – but steel container toilets have become a “white elephant” in New Brighton, where residents grapple with unemployment, crime and poverty.
The Nelson Mandela Bay municipality invested about R2.5m in the erection of 10 ablution facilities in a bid to eradicate the bucket system.
But the container toilets have been vandalised as residents demanded houses instead of a replacement for the bucket system.
The windows of the ablution facilities have been smashed and door handles damaged after being forced open.
Inside, shower heads, cables and plastic pipes have also been ripped out.
Toilet seats, basins and solar panels have all been damaged or stolen.
Residents said damage was the only language the municipality understood in their demands for housing.
Nomonde Joni, 42, said they needed houses and not container toilets.
“They are also far away from our shacks. The level of crime is high here and one can be attacked going to the toilet.
“We don’t need them. People want houses. That is a priority,” she said.
Joni also questioned the logic behind building the container toilets at a time when some of the residents were promised relocation to Motherwell.
Municipal spokesperson Mthubanzi Mniki said they would soon dismantle the temporary toilets.
“The people will soon be moved out as [Ramaphosa Village] was formerly a tip site.
“The intention was to provide temporary relief to the people residing in the area.
“The toilets formed part of the eradication of bucket toilets across the city. We have similar facilities in other areas such as the KwaNdokwenza hostel in Kwazakhele.”
Mniki said the council had approved the temporary structures in 2016.
But in 2017 it was discovered that methane gas was present in the soil.
It was then decided to relocate the residents.
Resident Asanda Zanendaba, 40, said: “Nobody wants to use [the toilets] anyway. We are still using buckets. What is required here is houses.”
The municipality estimated the cost of each container at R250,000.
Each container has three flushing toilets for males and two showers.
The ones for females have four toilets and two showers.