| KWAZULU-NATAL

104-year-old woman has to go to the toilet in the open

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Elisa Khumalo has watched as other people in the area get new toilets but not her

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Elisa Khumalo, 104, and her daughter-in-law, Nokuthula Khumalo, in Mndozo, Newcastle. Behind them is the broken pit toilet she has to use. Photo: Teboho Moloi

On 1 April this year, Elisa Khumalo turned 104 years old. She may be the oldest resident in Mndozo village in Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal, but she still has to relieve herself in the open. She has no proper toilet, and uses a roofless pit latrine with broken walls.

“It is embarrassing and degrading for my mother-in-law to relieve herself in the open every day. We have to use a blanket to cover her whenever she sits on our make-shift toilet seat,” says Khumalo’s daughter-in-law Nokuthula Khumalo.

The rest of the family use a neighbour’s toilet, but it is too far for Gogo Khumalo to walk.

“I’m the one who takes her to the toilet every day. Our toilet’s roof was blown away by the storm a year ago, and we couldn’t afford to rebuild it,’’ says Nokuthula, who lives with her children and Khumalo’s great-grandchildren.

A toilet project is currently underway in the village and some of the residents have had new toilets installed by the municipality, but not Khumalo or her neighbour, Muziwendonda Zungu.

“Like other local residents we applied for the toilets to be built for us [three years ago], but we are still without a toilet, while we have seen other local residents having their toilets built recently,” says Nokuthula.

She said a ward committee member had told her Newcastle municipality had run out of budget for more toilets and their family would be included in the next budget of 2020/21.

Asked for comment, Ward 7 Councillor Bawinile Khumalo (ANC) said, “As a ward councillor I take a list of those residents who are in need of toilets or any type of service delivery, from my ward committee members and then take it from there. The toilets that are currently being installed in the ward are for those who are on the list, and those who are not on the list right now, their toilets will be built in the next phase.

“And, for senior citizens and the disabled residents in the ward, the ward committee members have a separate list for them.” He said he would find out more from the local ward committee member.

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