Sanitation for the nation

Delivering toilet facilities easily and relatively cheaply

09 March 2021 | Business

Windhoek • Yolanda Nel

With sanitation being a problem in large parts of the country, one company has found a way to make toilets more accessible, while the community itself becomes involved in the manufacturing thereof.
Rocla Pipes has been selling panel toilets since 2016.
According to the Windhoek branch manager, Andre Botha, this concept works with polystyrene moulds. “A mixture of cement, sand and stone is made on site (in situ) and cast into moulds to form panels. Then the layers follow one another,” he explains.
The cement panels then have to cure for two weeks, after which the polystyrene is removed and the elements are simply screwed together. All that is needed is a screwdriver, a rubber hammer and a two-man team.
Botha believes the success of this solution lies in the fact that the materials used are relatively inexpensive. “The idea is actually that the end user can be involved in the making of the toilet and so earn an income from it,” he says. On top of that, the process is not very labour intensive.
This system is also ideal for farmers and construction companies who want to set up ablution facilities for their employees.

‘Green’ solution
In addition, the polystyrene is recycled, which has a less lasting impact on nature. At the moment, the polystyrene is used to fill giant bean bags, which are delivered to the buyer together with the panels. “Although the system is used especially in areas where there is no running water, it is adaptable in the sense that it can be connected to a sewer system or a 'French drain',” Botha explains.
A drain cover mould is also available. The whole system also has a flush toilet that helps control odours.
The unit is precisely designed to do away with the biological or chemical system of pit latrines. “All that is needed to rinse is a 2-liter cup full of water. A sink can also be added if there is running water available,” Botha says.
Because these units can be made in situ, they do not take up much space on a truck load and the weight is minimal because they consist of polystyrene.
It does not just end at toilets, though. In addition to the fact that Rocla Pipes can adapt the shapes to make it bigger, they can also be converted to a shower or units for the disabled.
Rocla South Africa has been in existence since 1917 while Rocla Pipes in Namibia celebrates its 55th anniversary this year.

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