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By Cornelia Le Roux

Digital Deputy News Editor

Major bummer: Getting to the bottom of Ladysmith’s 15-toilet mystery

The curious case of a Ladysmith rural home flush with 15 toilets is raising a stink in the uThukela Municipality.

In what appears to be another example of a local municipality throwing money down the drain, a media report this week lifted the lid on the as yet inexplicable construction of 15 toilets at one rural home in Ladysmith.

This “toilet town” seemingly sprung up against the backdrop of a Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) report released in June 2023 that only 50.5% of KwaZulu-Natal households had flushing toilets as of 2021. 

Municipality to probe toilet mystery

The IFP-led uThukela District Municipality in KwaZulu-Natal said it is trying to flush out the reason for the construction of 15 outside toilets on one property in Ladysmith’s Ward 10.

“Regarding the toilet matter, our municipal manager is still investigating what happened to it, and we don’t have any answers yet because we are still investigating,” municipal spokesperson Nothile Zwane told News24.

‘Fifteen toilets built for one family’

African National Congress (ANC) regional secretary Bonga Hlomuka has labelled the project “a lack of understanding of how the municipality should be run by the IFP-DA leadership”.

“Just when we thought we had seen it all, boom! Fifteen toilets built for one family. The IFP-DA councillors don’t know that the funds they use to satisfy their political and narrow selfish desires are paid by taxpayers,” Hlomuka lashed out.

“The Uthukela district community has seen enough. It has written to the Public Protector, Human Rights Commission, you name them, but the situation remains the same.

ANC calls for dissolution of council

“We are now appealing to the legislature to use their powers to dissolve this council. It has been nothing but a thorn in the communities’ flesh since 2021,” he told the publication.

DA caucus leader in uThukela, Thys van Rensburg, referred queries to DA provincial chairperson Dean Macpherson, who is leading the service delivery pact which was recently signed between the two parties.

“We currently don’t have the details around what has happened here, and it is important that we do have all the facts before commenting,” Macpherson replied.

“Further, myself and the IFP chairperson [Thami Ntuli] will be meeting both the uThukela district caucus and Alfred Duma Local Municipality caucus in the next two weeks to look at service delivery issues in both governments with the view and continued objective to strengthen oversight and improve service delivery as this is an important deliverable of the service delivery pact, which we are both committed to.”

Minister lash out against delays in water and sanitation projects

The KZN Midlands municipalities in Ladysmith came under fire for the delays in water and sanitation projects during special working visits by the Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu in November last year.

According to an EWN report, the minister called for the completion of all projects meant to provide water supply and sanitation services to the people.

Mchunu made the shocking revelation that some of these projects “have been white elephants for as long as 10 years”.

The minister also urged municipality representatives to provide long-term solutions instead of implementing temporary services such as delivering water tanks and Ventilated Improved Pit toilets (VIP).

“Funding that municipalities receive from Cogta through the MIG, as well as the grants the department gives to municipalities, must be used in such a manner that, there’s security of supply, there’s operation and infrastructure maintenance that is taken seriously,” Mchunu said at the time.

ALSO READ: R295m Rooiwal tender: Edwin Sodi and Tshwane metro to face SIU scrutiny

Seemingly bottomless pit of toilet tender scandals

  • Former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede and her  21 co-accused are currently appearing at the Durban High Court  on charges of fraud, corruption and racketeering related to a R280 million Durban Solid Waste (DSW) department tender to hire and clean chemical toilets in 2016.

Service providers were allegedly paid huge amounts of monies even though they did not render any service.

ALSO READ: Evidence bungle in Zandile Gumede case

  • Nelson Mandela Bay city manager Noxolo Nqwazi faces charges of fraud, corruption and the contravention of the Municipal Finance Management Act following her alleged involvement in a toilet tender contract of more than R24 million that was allegedly fraudulently awarded by the municipality two years ago.

The tender was intended for the construction of toilets in informal settlements but instead some of it was allegedly used to bribe three former councillors to turn against their party, leading to the ousting of former mayor, Athol Trollip.

NOW READ: Row erupts as firm of ‘faeces thrower’ gets R1.3m VIP toilets tender

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