As part of the City of Cape Town’s commitment to being a Caring City, with what has been termed a particular focus on redress, the City’s Utility Services Directorate has over the last few weeks, completed the installation of over 280 full flush toilets and 87 standpipes or taps in informal settlements, according to a statement by Councillor Ernest Sonnenberg, Mayoral Committee Member for Utility Services on Thursday, 29 August.

Whilst the official handovers are only set to take place over the next two weeks in September, the communities are already making use of the facilities.

“As demonstrated by the above, the City continues to provide the highest level of sanitation in the country, with 97,2% of all residents having access to sanitation according to the latest census and 100% having access to adequate sanitation according to the Department of Water Affairs 2012. This, despite the fact that the population of Cape Town has grown by close to 30% over the last ten years – the second highest growth rate in South Africa,” said Sonnenberg.

According to the City of Cape Town, this has partly been achieved through prioritising the budget in terms of water and sanitation provision to informal settlements. “Since 2006/07 we have increased our budget by approximately 185%. This year, the estimated budget for water and sanitation provision is R521 million. A substantial part of this budget has been used to increase sanitation services and, where possible, to provide full flush toilets. To this end, the number of toilets provided in informal settlements has increased from 14 591 to around 40 296 since 2006 – an increase of 176%.”

Toilets and standpipes which have been completed in the last few weeks are in the following areas:

Khayelitsha

RR Section: 180 full flush toilets and 60 standpipes;

PJS Section: 28 full flush toilets and seven standpipes;

K2 Section: 20 full flush toilets and four standpipes; and

Taliban: 10 full flush toilets and four standpipes.

Lwandle and Nomzamo in Strand

Enkanini: 11 full flush toilets and four standpipes; and

Solly’s Town: 38 full flush and eight standpipes.

The statement indicated that this provision is over and above existing provisions of various sanitation types and standpipes in these areas. Through this additional provision of full flush toilets, the City hopes it will ensure a fundamental improvement to the residents lives.  “The City plans on constructing approximately 1 300 full flush toilets in this financial year, in areas including Burundi, Gardens City, Polile, Rasta Camp, France, SST, Macasa Village, Monwood, Lansdowne Road, Masiphumelele and Doornbach,” said Councillor Sonnenberg.

The statement further indicated that, as much as the City would like to provide more full flush toilets, “this is not always possible” as for example, full flush toilets cannotbe installed on privately-owned property, in areas of extremely high density, under power lines, on landfill sites, in a road or railway buffer, in flood plains, within servitudes, outside the Urban Edge, in areas where there is no bulk infrastructure, in water bodies/retention ponds, and in high-noise zones. In these instances, full flush toilets which require permanent infrastructure cannot be installed as to do so would be in contravention of the Municipal Finance Management Act and would be considered wasteful expenditure by the Auditor General.

“The City continues to deliver what it can within existing constraints. It is through the City’s consistent engagements with communities that many solutions are found, such as relocations or re-blocking, allowing for increased services,” said Councillor Sonnenberg.