Jahunda Residents Fault Officials Over Filthy, Dilapidated Public Toilets

Gwanda Mayor Councilor Njabulo Siziba says bureaucracy stalls progress of construction of new toilets. Image by Mthabisi Tshuma

BY MELODY C. MPANDE | @The_CBNews | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | MAR 2, 2022

Residents of Jahunda Township in Gwanda are sitting on a health time bomb as most of their public toilets are in bad shape and no longer fit for use. But who is to blame — council officials or residents?

GWANDA (The Citizen Bulletin) — Lavatory, bathroom, convenience room, restroom; - it is a choice how one prefers to call it but they all serve as a toilet.

Toilets tend to be taken for granted when one has access to proper facilities complete with running water in the privacy and comfort of one's home.

It is a luxury that Lethu Ncube, a resident of Jahunda Township in Gwanda, Matabeleland South, can only dream of.

Embarrassment often overwhelms her when she walks nearly 100 meters away holding a bucket to a nearby community toilet.

Her one-roomed house has no toilet.

“I simply cannot get over this embarrassment,” Ncube remarks.

The embarrassment is not her only worry as the community toilets expose her to diseases, muggings and rapists.

“I remember at one time during the 6am-6pm curfew, l was arrested a few meters away from my home as I was coming from the community toilet.”
Lethu Ncube, Jahunda Township resident

“The duty officers charged me with loitering during curfew hours and l had to sleep in a police cell until my fine was paid the following morning.”

A number of residents of the township rely on community toilets like Ncube.

Built during the Ian Smith colonial era, the toilets have suffered decay due to lack of maintenance, and are no longer fit for use.

Ncube says the public toilets are always dirty, filled with effluent ever flowing due to drainage blockages.

“The toilets are accessed by hundreds of residents with little regard to COVID-19 regulations such as having running water,” she adds.

Some of the toilets are situated near public terminus, and they are accessed by travellers alike.

“This public toilet near Jahunda rear shops has been closed for quite some time due to the unavailability of running water,” a Jahunda man who identified himself as Malume says.

“Even before its closure, it was not maintained and people were shunning the facility. Men especially chose to relieve themselves outside,” he says.

Residents fear contracting COVID-19 as the dirty toilets do not have running water. Image by Mthabisi Tshuma

While council has chosen to remain silent on maintaining and refurbishing, rate payers are fuming.

“One has to be careful not to step on faeces when using the facilities. The toilets also reek of urine.”
Linda Dube, an informal trader working near one of the toilets

“I do not know why the council is hanging on to facilities that are not adding any value to ratepayers. They should decommission or refurbish them…”

Gwanda Mayor Councilor Njabulo Siziba who is also Ward 4 councilor agrees that the public toilets must be destroyed.

“The only obstacle stalling the progress of construction of new toilets is bureaucracy,” Siziba adds. “The layout plans for the Jahunda Redevelopment Project are in Harare and only await approval from the central government for them to be implemented.”

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Gwanda Residents Association representative, Wellington Nare says it is depressing that residents of the Matabeleland South capital have to rely on poorly maintained public toilets.

“What is needed the most are more toilets characterised with cleanliness, and constant availability of water where COVID-19 protocols are followed. The lighting system also has to be upgraded to guarantee safety of the residents all the time,” concludes Nare.

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Public health, Municipality of Gwanda, Local government, COVID-19

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