Pretoria - Gauteng Human Settlements MEC Lebogang Maile has condemned the continued use of pit toilets in many households in the province, saying it was “unacceptable”.
Maile was responding to an outcry by residents of New Eersterus in Hammanskraal during a ceremony to hand over three low-cost houses built by the chairperson of Chippa Holdings, Siviwe Mpengesi.
Residents gave Maile and Tshwane’s Human Settlement MMC Abel Tau an earful over the lack of basic services such as flushing toilets, tarred roads and houses.
They highlighted the fact that people were at risk of falling into pit toilets dug outside their houses.
Community leader Jonas Lebeya said the government had failed dismally in terms of service delivery.
“I am an ANC member but I can tell you that our government has failed us,” he said.
“Mr Tau give our people dignity, give our people what you promised us. You were lobbying on television (during the election campaign). You were with Aaron Maluleka (regional chairperson of the ANC).
“You told the people that you are going to help the people of Hammanskraal. The time is now. Tshwane has R35 billion every year,” Lebeya said.
He also challenged Maile to make use of the impassable gravel roads in the area.
"Mr Maile you came using the wrong route. You should have asked me to direct you to the impassable gravel roads which are used by the taxis. You can’t use your car while driving on those roads,” he said.
He said there was a squatter camp nearby which did not have toilets and running water.
“We don’t even have the title deeds. We don’t have the right to this land. Give us dignity. We want the dignity of a black person,” Lebeya said.
In response, Maile said: “We also can’t have in Gauteng places where people are still digging out pit toilets. That can’t be right.”
He challenged Tau to address the sanitation problem raised by residents this year.
“There shouldn’t be an informal settlement which does not have water and toilets,” Maile said.
He expressed concern about the mushrooming of informal settlements, saying they affected the government’s plan to address the backlog of houses.
“We have built two million houses in Gauteng but there are still one million people who need houses,” he said.
According to him, there were at least 300 000 people migrating to Gauteng every year, and the majority of them needed houses.
Regarding the new houses, Mpengesi said his company used technology for building them out of waste such as plastics. “We trained the community to build these houses. They were not built by our construction company. The toilets are flushing and they have been flushing for the past two years,” he said.
“They have state-of-the-art toilets, which were not connected to any infrastructure and were the answer to dangerous pit latrines.”
Mpengesi said his company would buy each family R2 000 worth of groceries for the whole year.
One of the beneficiaries was Monica Ngoepe whose shack was burnt to ashes two years ago.
She said: “I am short of words to thank you. Were it not for you I would still be living in a shack. I pray that God must bless you so that you can continue to bless others.”