Toilets are scarce and vuil in Riemvasmaak, Caledon

More than 600 residents in this informal settlement have only 14 toilets to share among them, many of which are overflowing with poo.

At 43 people on one toilet, the situation has gone “beyond inhumane”, as residents of Riemvasmaak near Caledon have called on government to intervene.

A number of the toilets have no doors, most are filled to the brim with faeces and other toilets are broken or ripped out.

Yesterday, Joe Qwetana, an official of the Provincial Department of Water and Sanitation, visited the Overberg dorpie to investigate residents complaints, which has been coming on for nearly five years.

According to Cindy Mbengue, 42, of the Riemvasmaak Housing Committee, Block A had only three working toilets for 89 residents, while the 80 residents of Blocks E and F had to klop aan by neighbours to use the loo as they had no toilets.

“Taps are also a problem. Some areas have no taps at all and people walk far to get water,” says Cindy.

Resident Nosiphelele Madyolo, 25, is one of them.

“I have a tap in front of my home but sometimes I can’t use it because people dump faeces there,” she says.

The mother of two also has to walk about 100 metres if she or her daughter Amahle, four, need to use the loo.

She says most toilets are “vuil en morsig” because people who use buckets, dump the waste into the communal toilets.

“Most toilets are filthy because people don’t flush,” says Nosiphelele.

Some people have resorted to locking the communal toilets they use, to stop others from messing in it.

“Some clean the toilets themselves, so they lock it,” explains Raymond Nongaza, regional organiser of the South African National Civic Organisation (SANCO).

He adds that POWA Construction donated five chemical toilets to alleviate the problem.

“But most people put it in their yards, so everybody can’t use it,” he says.

Overberg regional SANCO chairman Jan Braaff says many people, especially those living closest to the river, are forced to relieve themselves in the bushes.

Dis nie menslik om so te lewe nie,” says Jan.

Raymond says they will appeal to National Minister of Water and Sanitation Nomvula Mokonyane to visit Riemvasmaak.

Theewaterskloof Municipality spokesperson Stiffie Cronje says they are busy investigating all complaints and planning interventions.