Poo war protests 'despicable' - DA

The DA in the Western Cape has described ongoing protests against portable flush toilets as despicable.

Khayelitsha residents were stopped by police at Cape Town Train Station after they were found carrying containers of raw sewage. Picture: Shamiela Fisher/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The nature of ongoing protest action over poor sanitation services in some informal settlements is despicable, The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Western Cape said on Thursday.

Police stopped a group of Khayelitsha residents at the Cape Town station, before they could make their way to the Western Cape Legislature to dump sewage there.

They were allowed to proceed to the legislature after police confiscated the faeces they were carrying. They later gathered in front of the legislature where they handed over a memorandum demanding better sanitation services.

The containers carrying faeces were placed in the back of a police van, while the entrance to the legislature was cordoned off.

One resident said the provincial government didn't understand what the squatters were going through because they were not the ones using inferior sanitation services.

"Helen Zille is guilty of racism. When it comes to our areas we have to wear gloves and a mask [to use the porta loos]. We're angry now and enough is enough."

The community members warned if the Western Cape premier didn't respond to their demands in the next seven days, they would once again gather at the building to dump sewage on the doorsteps.

DA provincial leader Ivan Meyer said: "This is unfortunate because Census 2011 and the most recent report from the president's office indicated that the Western Cape is providing the best service in South Africa. I don't think these are not service delivery protests. These are people that want to make the Western Cape ungovernable."

There have been a string of similar incidents in recent weeks in the Western Cape.

Earlier this month 184 people, including former ANC councillor Andile Lili, were arrested after being caught in possession of human waste. They were planning to dump the waste outside the legislature and the City of Cape Town's offices.

Protestors also recently threw faeces at convoys transporting Zille and one of her MECs, Bonginkosi Madikizela, in two separate incidents.