Tuesday, June 08, 2010

An interesting... yet shitty issue

I am sure you've all heard about the chaos going on in Khayelitsha regarding the toilets. If you've had your head beneath a rock, here's it in a nutshell. The DA "agreed" to build toilets for people living in a section of Khayelitsha at 1 per 5 families. This was amended to build 1 per family with the added cost being offset by the families building their own enclosures of the loos. A fair percentage managed to but some families couldn't/didn't/chose not to and had to take a crap in the outdoors in full view of anyone walking past. The ANC jumped on top of this and the ANC Youth League jumped harder on top of it. After they (ANCYL and friends) protested, the DA build corrugated iron (as far as I can tell) enclusores around the bogs. The ANCYL (who have never built toilets for anyone, by the way) went and protested and tore the enclosures down. So the DA went in and took all the toilets out with a statement to the effect of "ok people can't use the bogs outdoors so we're going to take them away until we've built proper enclosures."

Well well.

To me, this was an occasion where the DA could have provided constructive leadership. I think that their latest reaction smacks of a purely reactionary and angry fox terrier. This was an incredible opportunity, in the wake of snatching a Gugulethu by-election out of the ANC hands nogal, for the DA to show what they're all about, and drop the angry-white-people-party brand they have been associated with for so long amongst people who aren't predisposed to vote for them.

Had the DA stood up and said "Yes, admittedly the negotiation with Khayelitsha residents had an unsatisfactory outcome, and we will build toilet walls for the people of the township" and then done so, they would have shown that they give a shit about the (black) poor of South Africa, and not just the middle to upper class people who vote for them. Had they gone in and fixed a problem that the poor of South Africa face, many people would have felt better about the "white" party. It would have been superb marketing. Basic facilities would have been requested and basic facilities would have been granted - something that the ANC hasn't done to a higher than expected extent.

Instead, they've behaved like someone with a cricket set who invites all his friends to pay and takes the bat away after they are out for a duck.

The priority in this situation is people who need to use the toilet. NOT the ANCYL, NOR political points scoring.The DA had the power to fix this, and they chose to be whiny - exactly what people have accused them of for years.

The fact remains that people need to use the toilet, and it boggles my mind that any politican could forget that. For any reason whatsoever.

My disappointment with the DA since last year's election continues.

And I live in Cape Town. So it's not as thought I am outside the DA realm of influence.

Helen Zille knows better than this.


Leviathan said...

I suggest you read this before ranting on about things you don't understand:

Simon said...

The point is not what happened prior to this hitting the press. The point is how the DA dealt with it. I couldn't give two shits about what was agreed beforehand. I care for how it was resolved. And it wasn't resolved properly. What was agreed before combined with what happened now has resulted in no toilets for people who had them.

Granted, the ANCYL had a lot to do with it, but the DA are in charge and it is their job to fix the problem, which they haven't done.

Try going without a toilet for a month before posting links about things you don't understand.

Anarchee said...

Seriously Simon, the reason they took away the loos was because they posed a health hazard - there are stil (and always have been) the communal concrete enclosed loos shared 1 between every 5 families. So they have loos. Did you read the link Leviathan sent? It clearly states that. I agree that the loo situation is ridiculous, but the DA acted properly.

Nick van der Leek said...

I think you underestimate Zille. She's an intelligentand moral leader, she didn't win best mayor in the world because she lacked common sense. There may be a reason behind her actions that you haven't considered. If they go back and erect toilets it could cause another confrontation with the ANCYL. Or the YL may see that inciting the community is a great way to entrap the DA. You don't seem to notice that toilets were erected with enclosures. The YL wrecked them. They should fix them. It's simple kindergarten rules.

Sipho said...

I have to agree with Simon here.

This isn't about fact. It isn't about what was said before, or the state of the toilets in question or anything like that. This is about politics. And politics is about perceptions.

Danie Potato and the other DA gnomes should've seen this coming. They should've known that the ANC would be all over this (makes for terrific headlines, doesn't it?) and they should've pre-empted. They didn't, and for that they deserve all the kak (s'cuse the pun) that's coming their way.

I want the DA to do well, but until they learn to manage perceptions, they won't. It's as simple as that.

Leviathan said...

Simon. I suggest you read the memorandum carefully. Let me summarise for you:

1. Nobody in the affected area of Khayelitsha is without a toilet. Out of 1 316 people, 1 261 enclosed the toilets supplied to them as per the agreement with the City. In other words, 96% of the people now have their own toilet. The 55 families who could not or would not enclose the toilet supplied to them as per their agreement with the City still have access to a concrete-enclosed toilet shared with 4 other families. This is in line with national norms for upgrading informal settlements.

2. By delivering toilets to every family in the area, the DA government went far in excess of the national norm of one toilet per five families. If you visit informal settlements in Gauteng or Limpopo for example, you will find very few people with their own toilet. They share a toilet with 5 other households.

Perhaps you would care to write a considered analysis on how YOU would have handled the issue - from inception until now.