South Africa

Covid-19: Sanitation is a struggle in Kleinbegin, in the winelands

GroundUp is being sued after we exposed dodgy Lottery deals involving millions of rands. Please help fund our defence. You can support us via Givengain, Snapscan, EFT, PayPal or PayFast.

© 2020 GroundUp.
This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

You may republish this article, so long as you credit the authors and GroundUp, and do not change the text. Please include a link back to the original article.

Photo of toilets

Living conditions at the informal settlement have only got worse over the years, says a resident who has lived in Kleinbegin for seven years. Photo: Ashraf Hendricks

It is a Saturday afternoon in Kleinbegin informal settlement, Tulbagh, and people sit together outside their homes. A group of men huddle around a table playing cards. Children play in the road. Nobody is wearing a mask.

Winston Pietersen, coordinator of Tulbagh neighbourhood watch, says they are struggling to get the community to adhere to social distancing. “After 8pm there’s supposed to be no one in the streets, but the streets look the same as during the day. Children are out playing in the streets as if nothing is happening in Tulbagh.”

A stench of excrement hangs in the air. The portable toilets are clogged with human waste, and it streams down the street.

“There aren’t enough toilets for the number of people who live here. Our streets are a mess. It stinks in Kleinbegin; the whole informal settlement stinks,” says Mina Jantjies, who has lived here for seven years.

Home to nearly 400 people, Kleinbegin is one of seven informal settlements under Witzenberg Municipality: Pine Valley, Chris Hani, Mooiblom, Zibonele, Polo Cross and Die Gaatjie are the others.

One toilet serves about 21 people in the informal settlements, with an average shortfall of 37 toilets per settlement, according to the municipality’s 2019 Spatial Development Framework.

“The municipality hardly comes to clean the toilets. Last week, we had to clean it ourselves. It’s not our responsibility,” says Jantjies.

But municipal Director of Technical Services Joseph Barnard says the toilets are serviced weekly. “All toilets which are on-site are chemical toilets, are serviced twice weekly by the appointed service provider.”

“The municipality do not clean the toilets; they only empty them,” says Gerrit Koopman, a resident since 2012.

He says residents resort to using buckets at home and empty them into the toilets.

Residents said the municipality promised to deliver extra water tanks and sanitise the streets, but this has not been done.

“We asked the municipality to install water tanks throughout Witzenberg. They said there are enough water tanks for Nduli, Wolseley and Ceres and Tulbagh, but so far not one water tank has been delivered in Tulbagh,” says Pietersen, who is also vice-chairperson of the Community Police Forum and leader of the Witzenberg Justice Coalition in Tulbagh.

But Barnard says the municipality is compliant with the standards required by government regulations for RDP water and sanitation services. However, he said that plans are currently underway to install two water tanks in Jooste Street, Kleinbegin.

As at 18 May, there were 206 confirmed Covid-19 cases in Witzenberg. 70% of Witzenberg recorded cases had recovered, Premier Alan Winde said on Sunday.

Football news:

Mourinho on son and Lloris clash: It's beautiful. If you want to blame someone, it's me
Real Madrid players will refuse bonuses for all the trophies they win this season
Barcelona are confident that they will sign Lautaro by October. Inter wants 90 million euros and one player
Aitor Karanka: If there is a team that can win back against Manchester City, it is real
Juventus and Atletico have started talks about the transfer of Lacazette. Inter are also Interested in him
Rangnik agreed to take charge of Milan from the 2020/21 season. He can also take the post of sports Director
Ocampos did everything for the victory of Sevilla: first he scored, and then he put on a goalie's Jersey and in the 101st minute dragged the kick of the goalkeeper Eibar