Running to the nearest bushes to answer to the call of nature will be a thing of the past for eight families at Keetmanshoop’s Ileni informal settlement after they received new toilets last week.
The eight flush toilets and showers that were handed over on Thursday were constructed by //Kharas Regional Council, with support from the Keetmanshoop Urban Constituency Office.
Handing over the new facilities, Keetmanshoop Urban Constituency Councillor and Deputy Minister of Veteran Affairs Hilmar Nikanor pleaded with residents to take good care of the new facilities and keep them clean at all times.
She said the toilets are there to improve the residents’ quality of life and provide a healthy environment, saying the lack of sanitation facilities can cause the breakout of preventable diseases, such as diarrhoea, when people relieve themselves in the open.
“We are never happy to see the human waste everywhere, because everyone goes to relieve themselves out in the open space due to lack of toilets,” she remarked.
She said it is now up to the residents to do their part, as oftentimes people do not meet government halfway, but government has done its part to provide the basic services. It is now up to the residents to do their part to ensure that the structures are well looked after.
“You receive these facilities free of charge. Therefore, you should be able to take care of them. I do not want to hear of blockages due to newspapers or stones being thrown in. The only price I want you to pay for these [facilities] is to take care of them,” she said.
The residents were happy to have access to the new toilets, with many indicating that they would now be able to take a regular shower and use a proper toilet, instead of relieving themselves in the open, as before.
Hamunyera Johannes, 42, has lived at the informal settlement since 2012 and said it is a relief that he and his family will have a toilet of their own.
“My children and wife will not have to go to the bush anymore. We have used the bushes for too long, so we are very happy and we will take very good care of this,” he said.