Sowetan: Only six loos for more than 1000 houses

Only six loos for more than 1000 houses

15 August 2008
Getrude Makhafola

SHOCKING SITUATION: Some of the people who have to make do with six toilets in Regorogile in Thabazimbi, Limpopo. photos: Mohau Mofokeng

NO TOILET: Neliswa Nkwenkwe in what was supposed to be the toilet in her house.

TOTALLY INADEQUATE : Sello Mmebe points to the communal toilets in Regorogile.

So people use nearest bush in veld

The stench at Regorogile township in Thabazimbi is overpowering and the foul smell does not only come from a burst sewage pipe or rotting carcass.

For the past four years residents of more than 1000 houses in Regorogile’s Extension 6, Limpopo, have been sharing six communal toilets – three for women and three for men.

People whose homes are too far from the toilets use the nearest bush to relieve themselves, day and night.

Tshidi Tshosa, 29, said: “It is a terrible situation. We were promised toilets in our homes when we moved here four years ago but we’ve received nothing from the Thabazimbi municipality.”

She pointed at the veld next to her house, where she and her neighbours go to relieve themselves. The putrid smell of faeces and urine becomes ever more unbearable when you go closer.

Tshosa said: “You can imagine what this does to our health, especially that of young children who play in the veld, accidentally step on the faeces and then walk back into the house.

“Someone, please save us from this scourge!”

Community leader Amos Ramogake showed Sowetan the municipality’s plans and budgets to build toilets and roads and upgrade facilities that were approved in March this year.

“When I asked the contractor who laid the sewerage pipes why he was not installing toilets, he said he had stopped working because the municipality owes him R2million,” Ramogake said.

In the nearby Matikiring section, six overflowing toilets are surrounded by piles of rubbish. No one uses the messy toilets anymore. Everyone uses the veld.

Philemon Kwenane said: “The municipality does not want us to dig our own pit toilets.”

“What are we supposed to do?”

He said when the municipality moved them from Extension 4 to Matikiring they were promised toilets and houses.

“It’s a shame that we have to live like this,” Kwenane said. “I don’t even get visitors because they say they can’t visit a place with no ablution facilities.”

Municipal manager Roger Nkhumise said the toilets were the provincial department of local government’s responsibility since it had built the RDP houses.

“I started working here last year,” Nkhumise said. “It will cost the municipality R3,5million to install the toilets.

“We have written to the provincial government and local mining companies for help.”

Nkhumise said the municipality had applied for a bank loan and believed that the funding problem would be resolved next month.

He admitted that the municipality owed the contractor R2 million.

“The contractor was hired last year to lay sewage pipes, but there was no budget and that is why we still owe him money,” he said. “We do not have funds.”

Regorogile was founded in 1992.

Ramogake said after Nelson Mandela was released from prison in 1990, farm dwellers were evicted from farms by white farmers and told “to go to Mandela because he is now out of prison”.

The people first camped along the road, then they sought refuge in a cemetery and later settled outside the small iron mining town of Thabazimbi.

Residents named the area Regorogile, which loosely translated means “we have arrived”.