A yard full of faeces

| Pharie Sefali
The containers full of faeces stored at TR section in an informal yard. Picture by Pharie Sefali.

The City of Cape Town has put out a tender to solve among others things the temporary storage facilities for cleaning bucket toilets also known as porta potties.

Five months ago, GroundUp published an article – A house full of faeces – that alarmed many readers.

Gernatte Jefferies, who is operations manager at Sannicare, says that he is happy with the tender and is glad that the problem in Khayelitsha was written about on GroundUp.

“During implementation of technology, the need for designated storage facilities was identified, but the City didn’t have a tender in place to deal with this challenge promptly.

“The subcontractors therefore erected informal structures as interim storage facilities. The storage facility is required for some of the beneficiaries who do not have storage facilities for the extra tank and leave them outside their dwelling units, [where they are] exposed for children to play with, criminals who steal and sell them to recycling companies, and disgruntled community members who have torched thousands of them for unrelated reasons”

The tender seeks to address this gap. Sannicare is the contractor that deals with the bucket system and is employed by the City of Cape Town.

Cleaned containers in a yard with laundry. Picture by Pharie Sefali.

Mthetheleli Wulana, who is the owner of sub-contractor Just a Wish Masiphumelele, says that he is also happy with the tender advertised by the City.

Wulana showed GroundUp how they are trying to keep the containers away from children and out of the reach of thieves. He said that these informal structures are his way of protecting the community from being exposed to filthy buckets full of faeces.

One of the many storage places that GroundUp visited was a yard extended next to someone’s shack. Inside the yard, there were a number of cleaned containers and also a washing line with laundry.

According to Xoliswa Zagagana, supervisor in RR section, they asked the shack owners for permission to extend the yard.

“We do not pay the owner of the shack any money for storage. She stores the toilets out of her own goodwill. Sometimes the toilets leak when they are full, so our duty is to clean the yard using chemicals so that it won’t smell,” said Zagagana.

Wulana said he has to think of people’s health and he tries his best to keep the streets of Khayelitsha hygienic.

“I spent my own money to build these structures. One of them I had to destroy because the community was not pleased with it … I agree that this is not the best solution, but as the sub-contractor there is nothing I can do other than build these yards to store the buckets … but it helps, because now it’s not easily accessible to children,” said Wulana.

In the previous article, Jefferies acknowledged that he did not know where the toilet containers were kept.

“The storage facilities were not part of the original service plan and tender. Therefore Sannicare brought its concerns to the City; the tender advertisement is addressing the problems faced by sub-contractors and communities,” said Jefferies.

TOPICS:  Sanitation

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