Covid-19: “At least something good came out of this lockdown” says settlement resident

Mandeni informal settlement got six toilets and running water after 10 years of waiting

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Photo of chemical toilets
Six portable toilets and working standpipes were delivered to Mandeni informal settlement last week as part of eThekwini Municipality’s response to mitigate the spread of Covid-19. Photo: Nokulunga Majola

“At least something good came out of this lockdown,” says Musa Duma, chairperson for the Mandeni informal settlement in Redhill, Durban.

Until last week, the ten-year-old settlement had no water and no ablution facilities. The eThekwini Municipality has since connected water and delivered six chemical toilets to service the 38 households.

Earlier this month, we reported how Mandeni residents were still walking to collect water at Mathambo, a neighbouring settlement, and had to relieve themselves at nearby railway lines or in the bush.

Most informal settlements in the City have communal ablution facilities, but this settlement had only a pit toilet dug by residents before it was demolished in January.

“No more walking to Mathambo for water,” says Duma. “Residents are so excited that we now have our own toilets. We are worried about whether the City will be cleaning them as they said.”

Since the start of the lockdown in March, eThekwini Municipality has been providing water tanks and chemical toilets to over 590 informal settlements.

“We at least gained something good out of this bad situation. By working with our councillor, we managed to provide our people with the most basic need, which is water,” says Duma.

Residents say now they can practice hygiene without worrying about running out of water.

“Water was our main issue because there is nothing that you can do without water. We are advising residents to use water sparingly and to keep to the lockdown regulations,” says committee member Leon Benniett.

Resident Nsindiso Mcinelwa says he is just happy that he doesn’t have to walk such a distance to fetch water in bad weather conditions anymore.

TOPICS:  Covid-19 Sanitation Water

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