The disgusting use of human faeces in protests for service delivery is on the rise in Cape Town. At the beginning of June we were shocked when it was reported that two men dumped faeces on the doorstep of the Western Cape Provincial Parliament as part of a protest against the bucket toilet system, which is currently in the process of being phased out.
In another incident, during a green event which took place in Khayelitsha on the 4th of June, a group of people, believed to be members of the ANC Youth League (ANCYL), threw faeces at a bus in which Western Cape Premier Helen Zille had been travelling.
Over the past few weeks, there has been a series of sanitation protests in the Western Cape, where residents dumped human wastes in public places.
On Tuesday, faeces were dumped at the Cape Town International Airport by several individuals demanding service delivery in the Western Cape. This shocked local and international travelers who were at the airport. It also tarnished the image of Cape Town and South Africa in the eyes of foreign visitors.
One Brazilian visitor who was in SA for the first time covered his nose in reaction to the smell and told Cape Argus that something like this is “not supposed to happen”. “I have never seen anything like that anywhere in the world,” he said. It is reported that this incident resulted in flight delays and revenue loss in the region of R500 000.
Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said the dumping of human waste in public areas during protests is an “attack against the whole population”. “Human faeces contain deadly micro-organisms like viruses, bacteria or larvae of parasites that can cause serious outbreak of diseases such as, but not limited to: cholera, typhoid, dysentery, parasitic diseases and even just simple diarrhoea on a wide scale,” he said.
Nine people were arrested in connection with this incident. Among them were ANC councillor and ANCYL member Loyiso Nkohla and suspended ANCYL member Andile Lili, the two men who dumped faeces on the doorstep of the Western Cape Legislature early in June.
After their arrest earlier this month, they were released on warning. However, this time they were denied bail. They will be detained until their bail hearing, which will take place at the Bellville Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday. The ANC provincial leadership also threatened to take harsh disciplinary measures against these members.
On Friday, in another related protest, the N2 was closed a number of times as residents dumped faeces on the highway, blocking traffic near Cape Town International Airport. It is unknown if these protests will continue next week. Those who will be travelling to Cape Town within the next few days are advised to be cautious.
Helen Zille believes that these service delivery protests are politically motivated (apparently aimed at discrediting the DA) ahead of the 2014 elections. She thinks that ANC protesters are targeting the Western Cape, the only DA-led province, in an attempt to point out the DA’s weaknesses.
A statement issued by Irvin Meyer, Leader of the DA in the Western Cape, indicates that Cape Town is the leading sanitation services provider in South Africa. According to the statement, “Of the 88 127 bucket toilets identified by national government across the country, only 0.4% are in the Western Cape.”