According to the Democratic Alliance’s Kate Lorimer, Gauteng MEC for human settlements Lebogang Maile has confirmed in a written reply to questions she sent to the Gauteng legislature that the Ekurhuleni municipality is paying from “R1,050 to R3,362 per month” for a single chemical toilet.
In a statement, Lorimer expresses her “disappointed to learn” how much Ekurhuleni is spending.
“According to MEC Maile, the Ekurhuleni Municipality awarded the chemical ‘tender toilets’ to 16 contractors who are charging the municipality anything from R1,050 to R3,362 per month for each toilet,” she said.
“This is not an effective way of spending public funds. The City should have considered those contractors that were charging less in order to save costs and provide more toilets.
“If Ekurhuleni had awarded tenders to those contractors who charged a reasonable price, it could have provided enough chemical toilets for all its residents.
“Furthermore, the contractual obligation of all contractors has decreased between the 2015 and current financial years. Initially, toilets were to be emptied twice a week, now they are only emptied once a week unless they are overflowing.
“This increases the risk of health hazards in the informal settlement areas, particularly in the rainy season and clearly indicates that there is no value for money spent on the Ekurhuleni chemical ‘tender toilets’.
“Audits of the toilets are done inconsistently with only one area done per year. This indicated a lack of regular monitoring and maintenance of toilets.
“We call on the City of Ekurhuleni to consider a cost-effective way of delivering chemical toilets to its residents. There must also be a regular audit and monitoring of these chemical toilets to ensure that adequate services are rendered to our people,” the statement concludes.
The Citizen contacted Maile’s spokesperson and will publish his response when we receive it.
Lorimer’s concerns follow her leading a DA oversight inspection, after an Amabhungane investigation found the Ekurhuleni Metro spent R1.9 billion to build toilets in Tembisa in between 2017 and 2019, but the job was done so badly by small contractors that many beneficiaries were left with dirty and broken toilets.
According to Lorimer, the toilets were not sufficient for all the residents, who received 530 toilets instead of a thousand that they were promised.
“Twenty people are sharing one toilet, which poses a health risk. Even though these chemical toilets were meant to replace the inhumane bucket system, it is alleged that this tender has been used as a looting system to siphon money from the municipality,” Lorimer said.
Ekurhuleni mayoral spokesperson Phakamile Mbengashe did not respond to phone calls and a query sent to him via email at the time of publication.
But the following week, Ekurhuleni mayor Mzwandile Masina denied any wrongdoing regarding the toilet tender during a media briefing in Germiston.
He defended the costs with regards to its acquisition of chemical toilets saying the City had provided 39,000 chemical toilets to 600,000 beneficiaries.
This saw the metro budget escalating to R872 million, which he said was far below the quoted figure of R1.9 billion.
(Compiled by Daniel Friedman. Background reporting, Anastasi Mokgobu)