500 households in Empumelelweni have no toilets

Ward councillor says she didn’t know of the settlement

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Photo of an informal settlement
Mayekiso Zoyisile crosses boggy land using planks in Empumelelweni informal settlement. Photo: Joseph Chirume

Residents of Empumelelweni informal settlement in Port Elizabeth are demanding toilets and water taps. They have no toilets but water and sewage from the formal houses in Nkume Street collect in bogs next to their shacks.

“We went to the ward concillor’s offices to lay our grievances but it’s been closed since the start of coronavirus lockdown,” said Nokuzola Mangati, one of the newer arrivals at the settlement.

According to Empumelelweni committee member Mayekiso Zoyisile there are more than 500 shacks and the number keeps growing. The settlement was established late last year by backyarders from NU10, NU11 and NU12 sections of Motherwell, Port Elizabeth.

Zoyisile said residents crossed busy Addo Road to relieve themselves in dense bush. “We want our ward councillor to assist us with mobile toilets or allow us to use the bucket system.

He said other informal settlements in Motherwell had been provided with mobile toilets and water tanks by the municipality in its plan to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

Ward 55 Councillor Ntombizodwa Nyati (ANC), who came to office after a by-election in February, said it was the first time she heard the name Empumelelweni. She had understood the shacks were part of a neighbouring informal settlement along Addo Road.

“I don’t know that informal settlement. There are only two informal settlements in my area, namely New Town and Khayelitsha. I have known these even before I became a ward councillor because I was part of the ward committee.”

“I will visit the site and engage with the residents,” she said.

Mayco Member for Human Settlements Councillor Andile Mfunda said he would “have to get more information from officials about the situation at the informal settlement” before he could respond.

TOPICS:  Housing Sanitation

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