Cape Town’s toilet war rumbles on

Western Cape Premier Helen Zille walked out of a meeting on Cape Town’s toilet wars on Thursday after what she said was another threat by the ANC Youth League to make the city ungovernable.

The meeting was convened by Cooperative Governance Minister Sicelo Shiceka in a bid to resolve a dispute over provision of toilets in the Makhaza area of Khayelitsha.

It began in a community hall in Khayelitsha soon after 2pm, but Zille and mayor Dan Plato emerged 15 minutes later.

Zille told journalists outside the hall that youth league member Andile Lili had repeated a threat to make the Democratic Alliance-controlled city ungovernable. She and Plato were not prepared to give the league legitimacy by staying on in the meeting.

“We are not going to talk with people who threaten to make the city ungovernable and break down structures,” she said.

She and Plato then left.

Lili later denied her accusation.

“That is false … she never wanted to sit with us,” he told reporters.

Earlier Shiceka, Zille and Plato had addressed several hundreds residents at the site of the toilet dispute.

Protests flared after the city first installed open toilets in Makhaza, believing it had struck an agreement with the community that each shack could have a toilet if residents paid for enclosures.

The city intended providing the prescribed national government norm of one toilet per five households in an informal settlement, but the community apparently requested a toilet for each household. Some residents erected enclosures, but others could not afford this, according to the league.

The city eventually erected enclosures around all the remaining toilets, but these have been torn down twice during protests. – Sapa

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