A proper sanitation system is about Justice and respect for the people. The people of ikemeleng talk about smelly and unsafe toilet conditions.

The North West  Province which is one of the biggest platinum mining areas in the world, is also an  area with the biggest sanitation problem in South Africa. Townships and villages in North West are experiencing an unbearable smell due to problems of sanitation. Some places experience overflowing of sewages while some, especially in mining communities of Rustenburg, do not have sanitation nor a sewage system.

Our community of Ikemeleng is also a victim. We daily smell the problem of sanitation or the absence of a sewage system.

Ikemeleng is a mining community in Kroondal  about 7km outside Rustenburg CBD. Around us we have five big mining houses, Aqpsa, Samancor, Lanxess, Glencore Xstrata and Anglo American Platinum.  We have a a constant influx of  tenants who are job seekers and also mine workers.

When you walk or drive through Ikemeleng you will be greeted by animals roaming the streets, a train of shacks for tenants, dirty water running on the streets, kids picking waste at dumping sites, and an  unbearable smell from dirty water on the streets. You will see orange bucket toilets on every street corner of the New Stand section. From this comes a bad smell. Sometimes you may see a truck draining the bucket toilet.The community is very upset with this bucket toilet  system .

The AQPSA mine in Kroondal  was responsible for moving people from one section of Ikemeleng to another because they needed the land for mining. They provided them with bucket toilets which the community found very difficut to use. They are now promising the community 240 VIP toilets which according to Kgetsi ya tsie, our organisation, does not solve the problem.

VIP toilets are usually pit toilets which are built with better quality materials and a ventilation system.

We spoke with people in the community  about the current system and wether they would be happy with the VIP toilets promised by AQPSA and this is what they told us.

Sebongile Dlamini is a 30 year old women. She is unemployed

“The conditions of our toilets are disgusting, the smell arising is unbearable and worms are roaming in the bucket. We are facing a serious problem due to this bucket system toilet. The toilets are placed on streets corners. We can’t even feel free to have privacy especially we ladies. VIP toilets are not a solution, we will still experience the bad smell and dirty water running every street of the community.A proper running sanitation is the solution, because it will bring back our dignity and respect our privacy.”

Joseph Modise is a 55 years old man, he is umemployed .

“The conditions of the toilest are not good for our health because  of the bad smell and the toilet is very hot during summer time and we experience the worms running in the bucket.The VIP toilets are not a solution because we will still experience the dirty water running on the streets of our community.”

An elderly man of 69 years preferred not to give us his name. He is a mine worker.

The toilets are misplaced and are causing an unbearable smell, because one must be shared by five families and their tenants. They became full very fast and not maintained regularly.The VIP toilet will never solve or make a change. AQPSA mine fails to maintain the current bucketsystem toilet.The solution will be a running sanitation plan in our community and this can create job opportunities for the entire community.

Nicolas Sibisi is 23 years old unemployed youth.

“The conditions of the toilets are very bad because during summer the smell arising from the basket toilet is unbearable and we experience worms roaming and  the toilets are very hot inside. The VIP is a bad solution.We need proper Sanitation to avoid the bad smells and dirty water running every street corner of our community.”

A young woman who preferred to remain anonymous. She is  pregnant and unemployed

“The conditions of the toilet are disgusting with bad smell and worms roaming the bucket bin. During summer we can’t use the toilet due to unbearable smell. It causes skin rash. Especially to me as a pregnant woman, I don’t use the toilet during the day because its hot..

The VIP toilets are as bad as  the pit toilets which we built our ourselves. Both will never change the situation. The water running the streets are problem too. The best solution will be a proper water and sanitation”

Koagile Olefile is an unemployed youth. He is 23 years old.

“The conditions of the toilet during summer time is very bad because the toilet is hot and there are a lot of worms. The toilet are  shared by more than five families and their tenants. VIP toilets is not a good solution because we are still gonna experience the unbearable smell and dirty water running the street.A proper sanitation is the only solution to the entire community, and will clean the dirty water running the street.”

Dille Mongaula a mother and a mine employee

“We should accept the VIP toilet system as it will stop the dirty water on every street corner. The current bucket system is very risky and the smell arising is bad. “

We spoke to a  young mine worker. He preferred to remain anonymous

Bucket toilets are disgusting because of the worms during summer and the arising smell is unbearable.

But the VIP toilets are not a solution. We will still experience the bad smell and dirty water running every street of the community. The only solution is proper sanitation and it will clean the dirty smelling water.

An unemployed young women who did not give her name.

The bucket toilet is unstable, unhealthy and unsafe. The VIP toilet may be  good, because it is not the same as the toilet i’m using currently that will make things better than the current situation. The solution is sanitation first, if not VIP toilet will be good because is a better solution compared to the bucket system.

Joyce Lebelo us mother who is unemployed.

I have my own pit toilet, now its full and the challenge is that you have to keep shifting the toilet when its full like currently now I’m  m building a new better safe toilet.

VIP  toilets are not a solution, the toilets are not even enough. if they keep going for VIP I dont want it in my yard, I will use my pit toilet. How could they provide toilets without sanitation.it has to be proper sanitation planning before the toilet or else we, as a community should not allow that happen .toilets and the running of the dirty water on the streets.

Susan  is  a mother who is 56 years old.

The toilets are smelling very bad because if you could use the toilet during the day, you will come out smelling the  same as the toilet. During the summer the toilets are roaming with worms. Just imagine the risk to women  because we using such unhealthy toilets

The ones they want to introduces are not a solution because firstly no one will allow the sewage to be built in their yards.The solution is sanitation because already we have a running water. Sanitation will never be a problem and will no longer experience dirty water that are running every corner street.

A granny in the community.

The toilet I’m using is disgusting and unsafe because its misplaced on street and the arising smell is unbearable especially now in summer. I’m suffering to get myself out of the toilet after using it because its smelling bad.The VIP toilet can be a solution because are same as the old toilets we built ourselves.

Kgetsi ya tsie believes that sanitation is a basic right.

It is about respect for people  and a healthy life style. Sanitation is about privacy and the dignity of the entire society. The AQPSA plan will fail because they plan for 240 toilets when the community increased in numbers. They will not solve the problem that 3 or more families will still use one toilet. People are very doubtful that AQPSA which has failed to main the current toilet will maintain the new toilets.  We need a permanent sanitation system in Ikemleng not a temporary system.

By Buti  Botopela  and Steven Ramokhula