The public toilets at Camps Bay tidal pool, Maiden’s Cove, Milton Beach and Three Anchor Bay are among the public ablution facilities reopened by the City of Cape Town’s recreation and parks department.
This follows numerous requests from various non-governmental organisations and public interest groups to open public ablution facilities during the Covid-19 lockdown period.
The City said they initially received requests for the opening of nine ablution facilities but decided, after careful consideration, to extend the reopening to other areas in the city.
Dr Zahid Badroodien, the City’s mayoral committee member for community services and health, said the intention to reopen some of these facilities was to assist homeless people in providing a much-needed ablution facility.
“The decision was taken within the parameters and strict guidelines of national Covid-19 regulations and in consultation with the provincial government,” he said.
A homeless person in the area, Paul Vutha, said they’ve had to relieve themselves at the beach due to the facilities being closed.
“I’m glad that they decided to open some of the ablutions because even during the lockdown, there are always people around and it’s not easy to relieve yourself during the day,” he said.
Dr Badroodien said the recreation and parks department will manage these facilities in line with the Covid-19 national public hygiene strategy and implementation plan.
Routine environmental cleaning as an essential part of disinfection. Removal of germs such as the virus that causes Covid-19 requires thorough cleaning followed by disinfection. Frequently touched surfaces are a high-risk for cross-transmission by pathogens that are transferred from people’s hands. Items such as door handles, taps, toilets, wash hand basins and railings are frequently touched in public places and should be cleaned and disinfected regularly.
Disinfectants must be used for reducing microbial contamination on surfaces, in accordance with the manufacturer’s guidelines and instructions. Surface disinfectants should be sprayed directly onto surfaces and left to dry. Alternatively, a 0.05% chlorine solution can be applied.
Staff must be trained on the correct use of disinfectants and should be provided with personal protective equipment when using disinfectants. Gloves should be worn when handling and preparing bleach solutions. The disinfectant solution should be made up daily and used mainly on hard, non-porous surfaces.
Dr Badroodien said the City will monitor the public ablution facilities to ensure that hygiene standards are adhered to at all times so that they, with NGOs, City Improvement Districts and provincial government, can provide s service during these challenging times.
Meanwhile, there have been complaints from residents about the homeless people who are still on the streets on the Atlantic Seaboard amid lockdown. Ward 54 councillor, Nicola Jowell and Ward 115 councillor Dave Bryant released a joint statement last week clarifying the matter. They said many residents have voiced their displeasure that they were being fined when they walk their pets but homeless people were not being fined for sleeping and being present in public spaces.
The ward councillors stated that the City has no constitutional or legal right to detain any person and as a result, they cannot force a person to go to a shelter or detain them there against their will. “Policing of the lockdown regulations is managed and regulated by the SAPS. The City has assisted in operations but the primary focus of City law enforcement is dealing with by-law contraventions, not lockdown contraventions,” they said.
“We note the concern from residents about threatening behaviour and intimidation and would urge all those experiencing this to make contact with the SAPS who are mandated to respond to threats of violence as well as the enforcement of lockdown regulations,” Ms Jowell and Mr Bryant said.