Porta-loos should only be temporary

The HRC is unhappy with some aspects of the new portable flush toilet project in the Western Cape.

Sisanda Mntakaziwa sits in her home in the Cape Town informal settlement Jan se Bos, which received portable flush toilets from the City of Cape Town, on 6 June 2013. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The South African Human Rights Commission (HRC) said on Saturday portable flush toilets for poorer areas should only be a temporary solution.

There was uproar in informal settlements in the Western Cape this week around the recent roll-out of the city's new portable flush toilet project in Khayelitsha.

Human waste was flung at Western Cape Premier Helen Zille's convoy in the township on Tuesday while some ANC Youth League members emptied five porta-loos on the steps of the provincial legislature on Monday.

The HRC's Isaac Mangena said they'll be discussing issues around sanitation with Cape Town Mayor Patrica De Lille at the end of this month.

"The commission visited the areas where there are crisis in terms of sanitation and what we saw there was not really pleasing. People do not have sanitation facilities or their sanitation is not being collected regularly."

Mangena said the HRC is not happy about some of De Lille's comments.

"We're not happy with some of the aspects of her programme, the way she's rolling it out and some of the utterances that she made in the past including the fact that some poor people are happy with using the bucket system."

Though the mayor was not flung with human waste last week, she was booed off stage at several service delivery hearings in informal settlements.

In the most recent incident De Lille had to be escorted out of the meeting and taken away in a police nyala after residents at the Samora Machel informal settlement became increasingly angry with her.

She however said they will continue to provide quality sanitation services to residents living in informal settlements.

Meanwhile, controversial former Khayelitsha Ward Councillor Andile Lili said he will not abandon protests against the use of new portable flush toilets.

He said they don't want these new toilets.

"People here believe the portable toilets are even worse than the open air toilets. These ones are being used inside the house where there are up to five members in a family in one room and people have to help themselves in front of their children."

The mayor has blamed some ANC Youth League members for the uproar and labelled them as thugs.