1,000 people share two toilets at this informal settlement

M19 blocked in both directions by eThekwini protesters

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Residents from New Germany informal settlement in Durban, gather to be addressed by officials from the eThekwini mayor’s office after protesting over a lack of basic services. Photo supplied.

Police are monitoring a section of the M19 at Reservoir Hills in Durban, after some residents blocked carriageways in both directions with burning tyres and stones on Tuesday morning.

SAPS Durban spokesperson Thenjiswa Ngcobo said Public Order Police were on hand but no arrests were made.

Ward 23 Councillor Alicia Kissoon, for Reservoir Hills, said residents of New Germany informal settlement were angry that their requests for basic services have been ignored by the eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality.

“We currently have sewage overflowing into areas where children play,” she said.

Kissoon said she met with residents in July. It was agreed that “every avenue of communication” would be explored before protesting.

Clement Nkwelo, community leader at New Germany, said leaders from the settlement had met with officials in July at the city hall. They laid out all their issues and demands, including insufficient toilets, lack of maintenance and repairs for infrastructure, and a lack of decent housing and electricity.

“They promised to get back to us, but they didn’t,” he said.

He said about 1,000 people share two toilets. The other eight communal toilets are dysfunctional.

Kissoon said that during the local elections last year, the ablution blocks were “painted a beautiful blue on the outside”, but inside, sanitary ware was “broken, floors were cracked, and pipes were not connected”.

She said in some instances vandalism was to blame, but the infrastructure had not been maintained.

According to Kissoon, Reggie Cele from the mayor’s office met the protesters. “The residents were grateful that he took the time to see the issues first-hand but were frustrated that this is the fifth time in as many months that officials have listed the issues and yet they await resolution,” said Kissoon.

Nkwelo said residents were promised that a meeting with heads of departments, including water and sanitation, housing and electricity, would be called to account for the situation.

A meeting is expected on Sunday, but no time has yet been agreed upon.

“Since 1996, this place has been here. Why do we not have formal housing up until today?” asked Nkwelo.

A response from Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda’s office will be added when it is received.

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