Council grabs 31 mobile toilets

Herald Reporter

Harare City Council has come under fire for grabbing 31 mobile toilets from a private company in the city centre despite the serious cholera outbreak bedevilling the city, the shortage of public toilets and the blockages and other problems that keep so many inoperable.

Despite a serious shortage of toilets in the city centre, officials from Harare City Council have been reportedly been harassing private concerns complementing their efforts. 

Only a handful of council toilets are usable with the majority being an eyesore, blocked and most of the times are short of running water. 

The serious shortage of public ablution facilities in Harare has led to the introduction of mobile toilets which are bridging the gap while also being key trying to prevent the continued spread of cholera in the city.

The mobile toilets are being placed in hotspots including busy pick-up points for travellers such as the Harare Exhibition Park and the Civic Centre car park off Gamal Abdel Nasser Road.

Some of the areas that require mobile toilets are the Harare’s city centre at a place commonly referred to as former Ximex Mall, where illegal dealers are relieving themselves on the streets, posing a serious health hazard.

Other local authorities including Beitbridge and Chinhoyi have embraced the mobile toilets which are spreading to every province.

Only Harare City Council seems to be blocking the project.

Residents and city hawkers yesterday raised concern over the removal of mobile toilets.

“Council is failing to maintain their toilets, but is busy grabbing the ones which are usable. 

“It is better to pay a paltry fee and use a reliable toilet than accessing council facilities. Government should intervene,” said a vendor who operates at Simon Muzenda Bus Terminus, Mrs Anesu Chirwa.

A resident Ms Tendai Kondo also said closure of complementary ablution facilities was insensitive.

“We are in the middle of a cholera crisis and someone is grabbing toilets that is shameful. This will obviously lead to open defecation posing a more serious health hazard.

“If one cannot have access to the toilets so he or she will simply find a place to release self for example in Harare Gardens,” she said.

Mr Justin Makoma who operates at an open space around Gamal Abdel Nasser Road area said: “I cannot stress myself by looking for a toilet rather l will just urinate near any building because we do not have toilets here. They are all blocked.” 

Harare City Council spokesperson, Mr Stanley Gama responded on the mobile toilets project.

“We removed those toilets through operation Chenesa because they were illegal,” he said. 

“City council is planning to build more toilets so it can cater for the huge numbers of people in the central business district,” he said.

The Zimbabwe Mobile Sanitation Association president Mr Boston Muteya said they were facilitating the placement of the toilets at busy spots.

“The purpose of the programme is to reduce issues of open defecation,” he said. 

“We are targeting all crowded areas without ablution facilities like markets, truck stop overs, borders, among others,” he said.

“We are also creating employment in the process. 

“We are not taking over council business, but complementing as part of creating a clean city.”

Mr Muteya said they were also complementing areas with existing toilets, but failing to cope up with the demand such as Simon Muzenda bus terminus, formerly Fourth Street.

“There are instances where public toilets will be clogged which has become the norm in most cases and we then complement them with our mobile toilets,” he said.

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