Ward 13 residents in Mabuthweni and Iminyela townships of Bulawayo have bemoaned the poor state of communal toilets with four families forced to share one toilet.
Residents from the two suburbs have for years been using communal toilets and urged the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) to construct individual toilets for them.
In 2017, the local authority commissioned 279 individual toilets in the two suburbs.
According to city by-laws, the ownership of the houses cannot be transferred to the residents until the council attends to the ablution facilities.
Due to years of neglect, the remaining communal toilets are in a dilapidated state, with raw sewer flowing into the yards, a situation that exposes residents to water-borne diseases.
Families of up to 10 people share single rooms in conditions that residents said exposed them to diseases.
When CITE visited the area, on Thursday, some of the residents said they have tried in vain to engage the councillor, Frank Javangwe and council officials to attend to the sewer bursts.
A 67-year-old woman, Senzeni Sibanda said raw sewage has been flowing into her yard for the past three months.
“The infrastructure in the toilets is collapsing, some of the toilet chambers are not in a good state but the local authority has not responded to our pleas,” said Sibanda.
“The sewer system is blocked and raw sewer has been flowing for the past three months but nothing is being done.”
Another resident, a 17-year-old, Esther Nyathi said they fear that the facilities will one day collapse while they are using them due to their state.
“Just this other day when someone was using the toilet, it collapsed on them. We are now scared that it might collapse when a child is inside,” Nyathi said.
Peter Ndlovu, a resident in Iminyela, appealed to the local authority to provide chemicals that will kill the bacteria caused by the constant sewer bursts.
“Most of the area is now moist, which is easy for bacteria to breed and spread in such an area, the drainage system and taps are all in the same place which a problem for us.
“We do not even have chemicals to kill the bacteria, we are appealing to the City Council to assist,” he said.
Bulawayo Progressive Resident Association (BPRA) local representative, Alick Gumede said most of the toilets are no longer functional.
“These toilets are used by everybody, even those passing by, most of them are no longer working which is unhygienic for a community occupied by some people,” said Gumede.
He said politically elected leaders are not providing solutions to the problem.
“We have engaged the councillor that we elected to go and air our views but most of these people are politically elected and they don’t want to jeopardise their political affiliations.
“This problem needs those who work for the community and the resident’s associations who will monitor the situation.”
Meanwhile, ward 13 councillor, Frank Javangwe said there is a need to expedite the construction of individual toilets so as to ease congestion in the communal toilets.
“The problem in the ward is that residents do not own the houses as they do not have individual toilet facilities,” said Cllr Javangwe.
He, however, said there are projects that the council is embarking on to construct individual toilets.
“There are programmes in the Council that is focusing on the issue through the ward retention fund, we also have projects that we do in the community to facilitate the process.
“The 2020 council budget also has a provision for the toilet project, so we hope by next year we would have improved the toilet situation in Iminyela and Mabuthweni,” he said.