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Residents get their toilets back

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“Everything is back to normal now. If you pay me I will provide. I am even willing to go the extra mile.”

THE RESIDENTS of Lethabo Park in Roodepan breathed a sigh of relief when the Sol Plaatje Municipality-appointed contractor returned their toilets this week.

This follows an earlier decision by the contractor, Sanitech, to remove the portable toilets that the community members had been using due to non-payment by the municipality.

The municipality paid the contractor after residents reported the fact that their toilets had been removed to the media.

According to Sanitech, the municipality owed the company outstanding payments for seven months and was not able to state when the money would be forthcoming.

Concerns were also raised that due to the municipality’s financial status, the local authority could not afford to pay its suppliers.

The company had previously put up six toilets in Lethabo Park, which were supposed to be maintained twice a week.

Jaco Coetzee from the Bloemfontein-based Sanitech said they secured the tender from the municipality and hired a local sub-contractor to maintain the toilets.

He explained that the company first started to reduce the maintenance period on the toilets when the municipality initially defaulted.

“We were getting paid on a monthly basis for providing more than 100 toilets in different wards. The municipality’s payments, however, became irregular and this was placing financial strain on the company, as I had to pay the sub-contractor and buy the chemicals. Initially I persevered and kept on submitting the invoices to the municipality but all I received were empty promises,” said Coetzee.

“I am sorry that it had to come to this where I was forced to remove the toilets. I tried to seek alternatives but was met with a blank wall. In order to assist the affected residents, I left one toilet at each of the two sites where our toilets were removed.”

He added that payment had since been received from the municipality.

“Everything is back to normal now. If you pay me I will provide. I am even willing to go the extra mile.”

Sol Plaatje Municipality spokesperson Sello Matsie confirmed yesterday that the contractor had been paid and the toilets had been returned.

“Our current financial situation is publicly known and will affect our operations. That is why we are pursuing those in arrears to pay their municipal debts,” said Matsie.