“Now I have lunch in a clean canteen”

| Zintle Swana
Workers who used to eat their lunch sitting on empty toilets now have a container where they can eat. Photo by Zintle Swana.

The contract workers who clean portable toilets all day at the Borcherd’s Quarry Depot now have a canteen and a place to change.

Two months ago, GroundUp wrote about Sannicare contract workers who work at the Borcherd’s Quarry depot who did not have a place to eat or change, or showers. They were not allowed to use the facilities at the depot since they were not employed by the City.

The contract workers had lunch sitting on portable toilet containers, changed in an open space and, after spending the whole day emptying and cleaning the toilets, had to go home without taking a shower.

The portable toilets are collected from informal settlements on Tuesdays and Thursdays and cleaned at the Borcherd’s Quarry depot on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

When GroundUp visited the depot last Friday, a container had been provided by Sannicare where workers can change and eat.

Lindelwa Sophaqa, one of the workers at the depot, welcomed the provision of a place where she could have lunch and change.

“We are now able to change freely because we have privacy, and I feel like a respected human again now that I have lunch in a clean canteen like every other employee,” she said.

Sannicare’s Operations Manager Garnett Jefferies said the company is waiting for the City to provide an electricity connection in the container for appliances like a kettle and lighting in winter.

The City said Sannicare was responsible for the provision of toilets, showers, a canteen and other facilities for its staff. But showers should be provided at Sannicare offices in Parow where contract workers checked in and out, not at the Borcherd’s Quarry depot, the City said.

Joseph Tsatsire of the City’s Water and Sanitation department said: “The contractors cannot provide showers at the depot because it is not a starting or finishing point and there is a problem with plumbing and space.”

But Jeffries said some workers did not return from Borcherd’s Quarry to the Sannicare offices before going home.

TOPICS:  Health Human Rights Local government Sanitation

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