Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Have you heard about the "toilet saga" in Khayalitsha, the township near Cape Town? It borders on lunacy, really. And has been twisted to score political points, so let me try to clarify the muddy waters a bit. I heard a detailed interview this morning that, at last, made sense. For those who don't know, some time ago the DA (National Official Opposition but In Charge in the Western Cape where this all happened) erected one toilet per household for some of the residents of Khayalitsha in an effort to improve the lives of people there. (Before this, there was only one toilet per 5 or 6 homes - a horrible situation) Before these were installed, intensive negotiation with the community took place, (as is required in this country). Even the ANC Youth League were part of the discussions and agreed to the terms, I heard in the radio interview. Because of a shortage of government funds, the residents agreed that they would provide the enclosures for the toilets, if the authorities would install the toilets themselves. Which the authorities did. And which, in retrospect, was a less than stellar decision in the current climate. The current climate is - the ANC is furious that the DA rules in the Western Cape and that things run well here - so they pounce on anything to put the DA in a poor light. So this was far too good an opportunity for the ANC to score political points, and a very one sided story was put out, making it sound as though the DA was treating the township residents with no respect, since they didn't "bother to enclose the toilets". The whole situation has become a flashpoint - Trashing of the toilets, noisy demonstrations etc have resulted in the new toilets having to be removed. Result? The residents are back with far too few toilets again Now, they are toy-toying because of 'poor service delivery' - Oh woe!