11 Jul 2013 05:20
MARIENTAL, 11 JUL (NAMPA) - Close to 2 000 residents of the Oshiwanapenduka informal settlement at Mariental in the Hardap Region use bushes when nature calls, as there are no toilets in the area.
Residents of this informal settlement are now calling on the Mariental Municipality to look into the situation, which they have had to endure for more than three years.
The four toilets provided by the municipality cannot flush, and people living here say some residents are to blame for the situation.
In a desperate attempt to have access to ?decent? toilet facilities, some residents decided to clean the toilets and lock them so that only certain people can have access, making use of buckets of water to flush them.
The only other toilets in the area are those installed at shebeens, but the owners of these businesses are reluctant to make the facilities open to people who are not customers.
When Nampa visited the settlement on Thursday, three residents who asked not to be named said they use the bushes and an open area between the settlement and the Mariental sports field to relieve themselves because they ?have no other choice?.
One man indicated that those who locked the public toilets refused to give the keys to people they do not know, even if they were not given the authority to restrict the use of such facilities.
?We really want the municipality to give us toilets because we have suffered for long now. Look how far the distance is that we have to walk to go to the bushes, even at night,? another man pointed out.
Approached for comment, a woman who had locked one of the facilities said she did so because she is the one who keeps it clean.
?We do give the keys if someone asks for it. We cannot refuse because all of us here have no toilets. What can we do? The municipality cleared the bushes where we used to relieve ourselves,? the woman explained.
People also complained about the illegal dumping of waste near their houses, saying it is unhealthy.
?Those two skip bins you see there get full, and the municipality does not empty them on time. So, people throw rubbish everywhere,? another man stated.
In response, the acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at the Mariental Municipality, Catherine Boois said the municipality is aware of the problem, and will soon start working on the sewerage system before new toilets are constructed.
?We have N.dollars 10 million from the 2011/12 budget of the Targeted Intervention Programme for Employment and Economic Growth (TIPEEG), so we will use that money for the sewerage system,? she noted.
Work on the sewerage system is set to start in two months? time.
?We are not turning a blind eye to the sanitation problem, we constructed 19 non-flush toilets in the neighbouring residential areas such as Donkerhoek and Takarania so that Oshiwanapenduka people are also able to use them,? she stated.
Responding to the rubbish-dumping allegations, the official said the town?s authority has introduced a system whereby the skip bins are emptied twice a week. However, that does not prevent residents from continuing to throw waste on the ground.
?Illegal dumping is a problem here. People just dump waste anywhere, even near their shacks. Some even defecate behind the skip bins,? she charged.