The Department of Water and Sanitation has met with the Khayelitsha Water and Sanitation Forum to discuss water and sanitation issues affecting the community of Khayelitsha.
This follows the announcement by Social Justice Coalition (SJC) last month of its intention to launch a court case against the City of Cape Town over its failure to fulfil the right of access to sanitation to poor, black and marginalised residents of informal settlements.
In May this year approximately 100 members of the SJC marched to the office of the mayor to deliver a petition calling for better sanitation. The petition, signed by more than 5000 Khayelitsha residents, called for the mayor to commit to implementing long-term sanitation infrastructure in informal settlements, with the required increase to capital allocations for informal settlements in the 2016/17 budget.
The petition also called for a timeline for the eradication of undignified and unhygienic temporary toilets such as bucket, container, chemical and portable flush toilets in informal settlements, as well as a timeline for the development of a plan for the upgrading of Cape Town’s informal settlements in terms of its obligations within the national Upgrading of Informal Settlements Programme (UISP).
Khayelitsha Water and Sanitation Forum
The Khayelitsha Water and Sanitation Forum is one of four forums established in the Western Cape to address water and sanitation matters.
The intention of these forums is to bridge the gap between government and communities, to promote a two-way flow of information about provision of reliable water and sanitation services to the communities, and to provide a platform to engage on envisaged developments, plans, challenges and progress.
Challenges in Khayelitsha
Some of the reported challenges faced by the community in Khayelitsha include safety of community members who use communal toilets as well as vandalism of sanitation facilities.
Some of the issues discussed by the two parties included:
- The recognition of the forum by other relevant structures in Khayelitsha
- Strengthening of the relationship between the forum and ward councilors
- A presentation by the municipality of the available sanitation technologies, sanitation provision and safety measures in place
- The involvement of the South African Police Services
The Department of Water and Sanitation urged members of the Khayelitsha Water and Sanitation Forum to play ambassadorial roles in advocating water and sanitation issues, in particular water conservation in the communities.