Cape Town ‘at crossroads over toilets’

The City of Cape Town has reached a “crossroads” over the toilets destroyed in Khayelitsha this week, mayor Dan Plato said on Tuesday.

“We can no longer continue on this path of confrontation and sabotage,” he told a city council budget meeting.

“Money that is badly needed for service delivery is wasted through damage for the benefit of certain agendas.”

Earlier in the day the ANC Youth League( ANCYL) , which led the destruction of the controversial toilet structures on Monday, threatened widespread vandalism in the city in protest over service delivery.

Plato said that on the one hand the community had repeatedly confirmed it wanted the city to continue with the provision of the toilets.


“On the other hand they bow to pressure from the ANC Youth League and other disruptive elements to disown the work and vandalise the equipment.

“Mr Speaker we cannot continue in this way. I am therefore asking the ANC as the governing party to publicly confirm by close of business on Thursday 27 May that they will constrain their youth league.

“They must prevent the league from intimidating the community and from organising this resistance and damage to public property paid for with public money.”

Plato did not say what would happen if the ANC did not meet the deadline, but it sounded very much like a threat of a high court injunction.

The controversy is over toilets installed by the city in the Makhaza area of Khayelitsha.

Residents apparently agreed to build enclosures themselves, but this was never done.

The city put up corrugated iron structures around the toilets on Monday, but members of the youth league and some community members immediately knocked them down, and taunted Plato to arrest them.

The league demanded concrete structures instead.

On Tuesday, the league’s Dullah Omar region called on the youth to vandalise the city over poor service delivery.

“We are going to destroy everything and make the city ungovernable,” threatened regional secretary Loyiso Nkohle, one of those responsible for the destruction of the toilet enclosures.

“We are calling on all youth to do this, especially those living in informal settlements.”

Regional treasurer Andile Lili said the ANCYL did not intend being violent, but was being forced to by the city.

“Anything with the city emblem on it will be destroyed,” he said, adding: “The youth league will be vandalising the city.”

The region had written an open letter to Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale asking him to intervene in the toilet debacle.

“Our complaint is based on the reality that African people residing in Makhaza, Khayelitsha, are forced to shit in full view of the public,” the letter said.

Asked if the league’s national office endorsed the Dullah Omar plans, ANCYL spokesperson Floyd Shivambu rejected the report as “lies”.

“Do you call yourself a journalist?” he asked a Sapa reporter.

“How can you tell such lies?”

Also on Tuesday, Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Helen Zille described the destruction of the toilet enclosures as part of an ANC campaign of violence and intimidation against the DA in the Western Cape.

She would ask for a meeting with President Jacob Zuma to bring the incidents of intimidation against the DA to his attention, she said at a press conference in Cape Town.

The DA controls the city, the only metro not in ANC hands. –Sapa

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