Resident of Harare have heavily criticised the commercialisation of public toilets saying residents, travellers and vagabonds who cannot afford to pay for toilet services will be forced to relieve themselves in the open spaces.
This comes after the City Council has moved to commercialise most of the toilets in the CBD. The use of public toilets now costs 50 cents along Jason Moyo Avenue, Africa Unity Square, Kwame Nkrumah Avenue Parkade, Julius Nyerere Way Parkade and Market Square.
The capital’s sanitation has always been questioned as many people relieve themselves anywhere, evidence being the strong disgusting odor of urine and human excreta which flows in the city’s streets.
Ratepayers in Harare are appealing to the local authority to reconsider its move of charging for the use of public toilets, citing overstated toilet use charges and their closure during the night which forces people to relieve themselves anywhere.
“It is unreasonable to have people paying toilets; these toilets were designed to be used for free and charging a fee is depriving people of their day to day need,” said Tinashe Mudenda a city vendor.
Another vendor, Clinos Mutema said, “The city fathers do not consult residents over new developments, they just come and impose things on the people, this is utter rubbish. How can you charge 50 cents for just one single toilet use? queried Mutema.
Evidently the commercialisation of public toilets will increase public urination and defecation, which is a disease time bomb.
Residents in Harare say if the commercialisation of public toilets persist they will be living on a “cholera time-bomb” as vagabonds will endlessly relieve themselves on open spaces with the city council struggling to clean up this mess.
The commercialisation of public toilets promotes anti-social behaviour in the CBD and makes life harder for traders who rely on public toilets.
“Think of people who come to Harare just to do business for one day, where will they relieve themselves? The move to commercilase toilets is totally inhuman and it promotes anti-social behaviour while at the same time making life harder for travellers and traders, said Alice Phiri, a Harare resident.
Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) boss, Mfundi Mlilo said, “The commercialisation is part of the broader problem we are experiencing, it is just an extension of the fundraising strategy by the city council.”
Harare city spokesperson Michael Chideme however revealed that the council is not commercialising all the toilets as some will still be available for free.
“We are reserving some toilets for vagabonds and those who can’t afford to pay the charged fee,” he said.
He justified the amount being charged saying, “We have to buy chemicals to keep those toilets hygienically clean.”