Stink over pub­lic loos in Vhembe

Home Af­fairs, Sassa of­fices af­fected

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - NDIVHUWO MUKWEVHO

THE pub­lic toi­lets at the Vhembe district gov­ern­ment of­fices, sit­u­ated at the old gov­ern­ment build­ings in Mak­warela town­ship, have been left filthy, un­us­able and locked up.

The au­thor­i­ties are al­leged to have done noth­ing to rem­edy the un­healthy sit­u­a­tion for months but have in­stead blamed wa­ter short­ages.

The af­fected of­fices in­clude the district of­fices of the South African So­cial se­cu­rity Agency (Sassa) and Home Af­fairs. Now the hun­dreds of peo­ple who visit the of­fices daily for dif­fer­ent ser­vices, such as ap­ply­ing for so­cial grants and iden­tity books, have no ac­cess to toi­lets.

At the Home Af­fairs of­fices, some of the toi­lets have been left locked up. At the Sassa of­fices, there is only one toi­let that func­tions and is made ac­ces­si­ble.

“When you visit those two of­fices, you must just pray that a call of na­ture does not come, as there is nowhere you can re­lieve your­self. The toi­lets have been left locked as we were told that they have not been cleaned for months. Those at Home Af­fairs that are not locked, you en­ter at your own risk as you might not like what you will see in­side,” said Ntovhedzeni Begwa, a lo­cal res­i­dent who vis­ited the two of­fices re­cently.

Out­side is a sewage pipe­line that has been leak­ing hu­man waste for months with­out be­ing re­paired.

The only open toi­let at the Sassa of­fices is for disabled peo­ple, but there is no run­ning wa­ter, only buck­ets of wa­ter.

Sassa spokesper­son for Lim­popo Nor­man Ku­tama said they were aware of the “poor con­di­tions of our toi­lets” and that the prob­lem was the short­age of wa­ter in the area.

“We have been re­port­ing this to the rel­e­vant de­part­ments for months, but noth­ing has been done yet to ad­dress the chal­lenge.

“We don’t re­ceive enough wa­ter to cope with the in­flux of ben­e­fi­cia­ries who visit us daily. But as soon as the mat­ter is ad­dressed, ev­ery­thing will get back to nor­mal.”

Ear­lier this year, Health-e News re­ported on the horror toi­lets at Home Af­fairs and the district man­ager promised to in­ter­vene and ad­dress the sit­u­a­tion. How­ever, noth­ing has been done.

“We are still wait­ing for the De­part­ment of Pub­lic Works to ad­dress the wa­ter chal­lenges we are cur­rently fac­ing and that have caused the poor con­di­tions of the toi­lets within our fa­cil­i­ties. As soon as we get wa­ter, the sit­u­a­tion will be re­stored to nor­mal,” said Home Af­fairs district man­ager Zamba Maluleke.

Vhembe District Mu­nic­i­pal­ity is re­spon­si­ble for wa­ter sup­ply. Mu­nic­i­pal spokesper­son Ma­todzi Ralushai said the chal­lenge of wa­ter sup­ply to the peo­ple of Mak­warela was be­ing caused by the vol­ume of wa­ter they need to get from the dam to the area.

“We are busy with a new project, as the cur­rent sys­tem was planned years ago when the num­ber of res­i­dents in the area was much less. As soon as the new project is com­pleted, the wa­ter sup­ply will be re­stored.”

He promised that the leak­ing sew­er­age pipe would be dealt with as a mat­ter of ur­gency.

Au­thor­i­ties have put blame on wa­ter short­ages

UNHYGIENIC: The state of the toi­lets at the Vhembe district gov­ern­ment of­fices in Lim­popo.

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