Scores of residents from Dunoon and its surrounding informal settlements marched for better services last week.
They accused the municipality of feeding them one empty promise after another over the years and said they’d had enough.
They complained of potholes in nearly all the streets, flooding, sewage spilling from burst pipes into the roads and a lack of sanitation, piped water and other basic services.
Street-committee members and residents from Dunoon, Endlovini, Site 5 and Zwelitsha took part in the march. Vicky Mqumbisa was among them. After renting in Dunoon since 2010, she moved to a shack in Endlovini a couple of months ago.
“The living conditions here are terrible,” she said. “We don’t even have proper toilets here, and we constantly have to walk over faeces to get to where we’re going.
“We have a big problem with the portable toilets in the area. In the past two months, they have not been cleaned. The previous service provider that usually comes and cleans the toilets used to come at least three times a week. Now we have some broken down toilets that are dirty and causing more health problems. Imagine how unsanitary it is for women to use those toilets.”
Nomveliso Sishuba, of Dunoon, accused the City of Cape Town of turning a blind eye to problems plaguing the community.
“We know what happens in surrounding communities,” she said. “When there’s a pothole in any street in Table View, in less than a week, that pothole is fixed.
“All we are asking for is the same level of service from the City of Cape Town. What will it take? For people to die because of all the diseases caused by these conditions? Maybe then the City will take this seriously.”
Last month, Ekupholeni residents emptied two septic tanks on the N7 in a protest for better services in their informal settlement.
The residents told Tabletalk they were unhappy with the appointment of Sanitech in April to clean the toilets because the company was far less efficient than the previous contractor, Mshengu Toilet Hire.
Sanitech’s regional director, Riaan Swartz, said they could not comment and referred Tabletalk to the City of Cape Town.
Ward councillor Lubabalo Makeleni said the City and residents had locked horns and neither wanted to back down.
“I had a meeting with the City and (water and waste) Mayco member Xanthea Limberg about this issue. The City is holding firm,” he said. “They are insisting that Sanitech is the right way to go even after all the complaints.
“I would encourage the residents to give Sanitech a chance. It will not be worth living with those broken down toilets and faeces in the streets.
“I’m also urging the City to do the right thing. Its citizens are crying out for help and it needs to listen to them.”
Some residents also complained that they had to walk several kilometres to fetch water from trucks on the N7. The trucks had come daily since the start of lockdown, but recently they had only come a few times a week, they said.
Mr Makeleni said he had emailed the relevant department to ensure water was supplied daily.
The City has yet to respond to our questions about the complaints against it and Sanitech.