Namibia: Replace the Colonial-Era Toilet System

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Politics is about serving one’s constituency and not about politicians making empty promises. The bucket toilet system has been with the residents of the south for more than 30 years and it seems it has become fashionable for politicians to make empty promises to replace that unhygienic system.

Residents of the south who like other Namibians deserve better. Recently we saw councillors once again parading at a ceremony promising to phase out this colonial-era sanitary system that dehumanised the residents of some of the urban and peri-urban areas of the south. Several years ago, the Namibian electorate were informed this antiquated system of disposing human waste will be a thing of the past, come 2017.

That year came and we are in 2020. Yet it remains to be seen whether this promise will again be deferred. We hope this is not yet another political gimmick to solicit votes for the 2020 regional council and local authority elections. It is high time voters woke up to the reality of being used as political fodder. They need to ask harder questions to those aspiring for public office to serve the electorate.

It is high time voters used their votes to rid public offices of deadwood that is unable to deliver the most basic of services. As we speak, residents of Fransfontein typify residents of the south deprived of their human dignity because they still use bucket systems in this era.

The situation at Aussenkehr, a grape settlement that is home to between 7 000 residents to 30 000, the situation is even much worse. Residents of this settlement with a billion-dollar grape industry that boosts colonial-style mansions – a reflection of affluence stands out – in stark contrast to ramshackle, reed huts bereft of any sanitation and grape farmers use the river to relieve themselves.