Plato: Khayelitsha toilet protest subsides

June 3

“City officials are in the area engaging with community workers and the protesting has subsided in the area,” he said shortly after noon.

“The city does not anticipate further protests.”

He said he stood by his statement earlier this week that toilets removed on Monday would be re-installed only when enclosures for the toilets had been re-erected.

The council removed the toilets in the Makhaza area after ANC Youth League members destroyed the wood and iron enclosures it had put up to create privacy for users.

On Wednesday night police fired rubber bullets at about 1000 people who placed cement pipes and other obstacles on Lansdowne road.

The protesters also tried to get onto the N2 highway but police stopped them.

Khayelitsha police spokeswoman Captain Anneke van der Vyver said on Thursday afternoon that there had been sporadic incidents through the day, “here, there and everywhere”.

Residents had again burned tyres and placed cement blocks in the streets.

Police had “contained” all the incidents, and though they at one stage used rubber bullets, no-one was injured and no more people arrested.

Eight people were due in court on Thursday for alleged public violence. Another 18 appeared in a Cape court on Wednesday on charges of being part of an illegal gathering.

They were released on warning and would return to court on July 16.

The SA Human Rights Commission said on Thursday it was completing its findings on the controversy following a complaint by the league.

“We are almost finished,” said spokesman Vincent Moaga, adding they did not want to rush into a “quick fix” solution.

In 2007 the Democratic Alliance-led council began building a toilet for each household in the area, on condition residents enclosed the toilets themselves so the council would have money for more toilets.

Residents enclosed 1265 of the toilets, and 51 were left open with no privacy.

The council eventually erected corrugated iron walls around these toilets last Monday.

However, the ANCYL in the area demanded concrete walls and last week destroyed some of the iron enclosures and threatened to make the city of Cape Town ungovernable.

The city council responded by removing 65 unenclosed toilets.

Social Justice Coalition co-ordinator Gavin Silber said that during a visit to the area on Thursday morning they found that people were using the communal toilets but this was inadequate.

“It was wrong to remove toilets without providing an alternative. There are some communal toilets, but they also removed standpipes for the taps.”

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