In 2022, Durban is set to play host to the Commonwealth Games and in a bid to “clean up” the city a new set of bylaws came into effect on 11 March which punish public urination and other behaviours that the eThekwini Municipality deems unsavoury with up to a R40 000 fine. Laws like this historically target the poor and marginalised in a city, so KWAZI DLAMINI took to the Durban streets to see what locals thought of the fine.
Mxolisi Ntanzi 21, student, Umlazi
Okay, I think these bylaws are good because if you are urinating in public that is not good for the environment, culturally it is disrespectful. Now that there is a penalty involved people will learn to be responsible so I am fully behind these bylaws.
Nqobile Maphalala, 23, hairdresser, Molweni
I think it is a good way of keeping the city clean but R40, 000 is unreasonable. I think R100 would have been fine. Most people who urinate in public are those who do piece jobs around town so clearly cannot afford to pay such penalty.
Siyanda Mhlanga, 25, auditor, Chesterville
The urinating part I agree with it, what they are doing is disgusting because public toilets are everywhere nowadays so I do not understand why people still continue with this habit. It is unhygienic.
Mfundo Lengisi, 30, teacher, Umbilo
I think nothing will change; the municipality cannot go every street corner looking for people who are urinating. The street begging issue is also good but impractical, street beggars are all over town they need rehabilitation not to be fined. Those who hang their clothes on the windows of buildings do that because their clothes are not safe outside. Also, the municipality should first do inspection in all buildings to make sure they are safe.
Okona Cenge, 24, fitness trainer Berea
They just want to scare people but if it works that will be good. How can you expect someone who begs for two rands in the street to pay R40, 000 fine? It’s just ridiculous. The people who usually urinate outside are those at the taxi ranks and you cannot by any chance think the taxi drivers will pay such amount; they will just strike and stop all transportation in Durban.
Amahle Dlamini, 27, cashoer, Greyville
This will hopefully put an end to the stinking places in town especially in the market there is a place that has been turned a public toilet but it is on the street. What shocked me is that the Metro police are always there but people continue to urinate. Most of these bylaws have always been in place, the only difference is the penalty now.
Vusi Kunene, 29, boilermaker, Montclair
The municipality might as well start building a new prison to accommodate all the victims of these bylaws and such a hefty penalty, there is a lot of people in Durban breaking these bylaws. A person without even R1, 000 in their bank account cannot afford to pay R40, 000, the municipality must re-visit the penalty fee and come up with a better plan because it is needed.
Mondli Ndlovu, 23, foreman electrician
I really don’t like the guys begging at the robots because they are the ones responsible for smash and grabs and even the money they get from people, they don’t use it to buy food but they feed their drug habit. The municipality must arrest them because if they cannot feed themselves they definitely cannot be able to pay the penalty.
The city is competing with other cities like Cape Town for the top spot and this is the best way to keep it clean, however I think the penalty is too harsh for an everyday black person. They should be charged at least R500 just to send a message to others. Men should start taking responsibility and stop urinating in public because it is them who do that.
Phumla Mtolo, 28, street vendor. Jolivet
It is very difficult for us women to even try to urinate in public but sometimes I understand why they are doing so, it is very dangerous to use the public toilets here in town you can get robbed while at it. The municipality must come up with a better way to deal with this. They must clear clothes hanging in windows of some buildings here in town; they look dirty.