Cape Town “Poo Wars” Lead to Arrests

South Africa Poo Wars

180 people have been arrested ahead of a planned protest over the lack of proper sanitation, which local media has dubbed the “poo wars” in Cape Town, South Africa.

Many of the protesters were carrying bags of human feces, ready to battle it out in the poo wars. Expelled ANC councillor Andile Lili led the demonstrators by train to protest against the city’s sanitation policies but the train was stopped before it reached Cape Town’s city centre and the protesters were ordered out. Police, with provincial health officials on hand, removed four bags filled with feces from the train. Lili was the first to be arrested, followed by the entire group.

“We are emptying our toilets there because our toilets have smelled for three months,” Lili told South Africa’s Eyewitness News.

But despite the mass arrests, some demonstrators still managed to dump their bags of waste inside some local government offices. While police were busy dealing with Lili, another ANC Cape Town councillor, Loyiso Nkohla, managed to pour several containers of poo in the reception area of a provincial government building.

The poo wars started back in May when Cape Town cleaning company, Sanicare, fired their entire workforce, after several protests regarding lack of sanitary removal services. In retaliation, the former Sanicare janitors responsible for cleaning communal toilets, blocked a part of the N2 highway with burning tires and dumped human feces on the road.

But the poo wars didn’t stop there. Last week, raw sewage was thrown at opposition leader and Premier of the Western Cape Helen Zille as she toured poor areas of the city. And a day before that, two men dumped feces on the steps of the Western Cape legislature in a protest about portable flush toilets (PFTs).

Just how bad is the poo situation in Cape Town? Pretty rough apparently. Housing and sanitation are a huge problem in Cape Town, especially in the poor and often crowded townships. In the townships many residents share outside toilets in which the conditions are super unhygienic. Another problem – the outdoor-shared toilets have led to some women being raped at night.

Protesters accuse Helen Zille and the Democratic Alliance of not doing enough to provide proper housing and sanitation to townships but the DA argues that it does not have the money to do this for all of the region’s inhabitants. They have offered portable toilets to some residents at no cost but the protesters say that’s not good enough. And until it gets sorted out they will be using the content from those portable toilets to finish off the poo wars.

Via: BBC News

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