The City of Cape Town has addressed a claim on a neighbourhood Facebook page, saying that it closed the toilets on Big Bay beach in Bloubergstrand on New Year’s Day to save water – resulting in beachgoers relieving themselves in public.

“The public toilet at Big Bay was briefly closed to the public just after 6pm on New Year’s Day to facilitate cleaning of the facility,” said Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security and Social Services, JP Smith.

“The owner of the service provider contracted to do the cleaning was on site at the time and explained the situation to members of the public, some of whom were unfortunately less than understanding.┬áThe toilet was reopened after cleaning and was only closed for the day at 7.30pm.”

A woman who works around the beach area on the West Coast raised the issue. She said some beachgoers decided to relieve themselves against walls or in the sand.

According to the woman, they initially believed the toilets were closed due to the water crisis, and were upset that those visiting the beach would expect to find open toilets.

Smith said that only the water at the wash basins and showers had been cut to save water. The cuts are part of the action the City has taken to save water during the severe drought.

He said that apart from the cleaning break, the toilets were fully functional.

Area manager for contracted cleaners ‘Top n Nos’, Ann Fish, said that upon her daily routine of opening the toilet blocks, they were all operational on New Year’s Day.

“Look, they took the taps out to save water and they put hand sanitiser in for people to clean their hands, but the toilets are open and they are working,” she said.

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