On a daily basis, it is one of the Bloem’s most busiest streets and also the most in hygienic one with terrible smell emitting from urine on the sidewalk.
Douglas Street in Bloemfontein’s Central Business District (CBD) near Motheo FET College has – for years – is known by the entire community after it was turned into taxi rank by 4+1 taxis. On one side of the street is a line of taverns, salons, shops and a car penal beater while the other side is enclosed by a wall and high security fences covering the college yard.
However, commuters have recently started raising concerns of public urination on the college wall and side walk. They say, queuing for a taxi on a warm, summer’s day, is nightmare as the smell of urine chokes the whole area. “We, at times, even find it difficult to stand on the pavement of the road waiting for the taxi as that the whole area looks like a toilet without walls,” said one commuter Malefu Sejake. She said it is disgusting to stand there and see an old man relieve himself just behind them while they were waiting for a taxi home. “People don’t seem to care for their own health and that of others.
A person just stands behind you and answers to call of nature... it is insane to say the least. It is the infringement of the commuters’ basic constitutional right.
This is health hazard because even the smell that comes from this area is unbearable,” she said. Lerato Ditheko blamed taxi drivers for the situation saying: “They are the ones urinating on the street.”
“I almost got myself in trouble for confronting a taxi driver after urinating next to us... it almost got very ugly. He told me that I should call the municipality to build them a proper taxi rank with toilets and stop looking at what they do.
The problem is we do not have alternative transport to return home and there is nothing we can do even if we don’t like what they do,” she said.
However, taxi drivers refused to responsibility, shifting the blame to the Mangaung Metro Municipality for failing to provide proper facilities and an equipped taxi rank to work from.
“This is our working area because the municipality has failed us but all this urine is not ours,” said a taxi driver who refused to be named in the article.
“We are not doing all this, we are using toilets inside these taverns whenever we need to pee (sic),” he said. Mangaung spokesperson Qondile Khedama warned that the SAPC has a right to action against any person found to be contravening the Public Indecency Act.
“We have a number of ablution facilities in the CBD, including Hoffman Square but those who are from these are encouraged to use facilities that are available in properties around their vicinity to avoid being arrested,” said Khedama Adding that; “Urinating in public constitutes public indecency and it’s a contravention of the Public Indecency Act. Members of the public are discouraged from any activity that may be associated with public indecency, inclusion urinating in open public spaces”.