Thohoyandou public toilet shortage stinks, say residents

Thohoyandou public toilet shortage stinks, say residentsMpumalanga Department of Health officials deny that patients were turned away during recent water shortages (File photo)

A lack of public loos in Thohoyandou’s central business district may be leaving hawkers and shopkeepers in a stinky situation.

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As an alleged shortage of toilets pits some taxi drivers against local hawkers, nurse Irene Sithole's main concern is a lack of handwashing
As an alleged shortage of toilets pits some taxi drivers against local hawkers, nurse Irene Sithole’s main concern is a lack of handwashing

For some men in Thohoyandou, the first port of call when nature calls is the nearest street corner, say residents who have begun to complain about the smell of urine in the centre business district.

“The smell of the urines is too much,” said Joyce Masindi who makes a living by selling food near the centre’s Thulamela Taxi Rank. “I can barely breathe while sitting at the market and it is costing me my customers.”

“People are no longer interested in buying our (hawkers’) food because of the bad smell of urine, which is caused by people who pee in every corner (of the street),” she told OurHealth.

But taxi driver Fhatuwani Mudoseni said he does not see the point of spending R2 to access a public toilet when peeing on the street is free – and more convenient.

[quote float= right]Why should I go to the toilets, fork out my hard earned money and queue in the line for more than 20 minutes just to pee?”

“If I can pee in public for free and go back to work quickly why should I go to the toilets, fork out my hard earned money and queue in the line for more than 20 minutes just to pee?” said Mudoseni who drives a taxi 40kms between Thohoyandou and Malamulele.

Some shop owners have erected barbed wire around their buildings to stop men from peeing on their walls.

In addition to complaining about the cost of public toilets, some men have also complained that parts of the city centre lack public toilets.

For professional nurse Irene Sithole, the growing trend is a worrying one.

“Peeing in public is not hygienic as most people don’t wash their hands after they finished,” she said.

Keeping your hands clean is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of infection and illness, according to the US Centres for Disease Control, which recommends you wash your hands for at least 20 seconds – or about the time it takes to hum the “happy birthday” song twice.

Poor hand washing has also been linked to transmission of diseases like typhoid. The country has seen at least 19 cases of typhoid this year.

Thulamela Local Municipality did not respond to requests for comments. – Health-e News.