Social Justice Coalition Contests Presidency Report on Sanitation

Article excerpt

A Presidency report on the number of Western Cape households without adequate access to sanitation is being contested by the Social Justice Coalition (SJC).

The Department of Performance, Monitoring and Evaluation in the Presidency last week reported to Parliament that 8 934 households in informal settlements and 13 873 in formal settlements in the Western Cape did not have adequate toilet facilities, the Weekend Argus reported yesterday.

SJC co-ordinator Gavin Silber said the figure would have been obtained from municipalities and could be misleading because of local government failure to regularly maintain the facilities and monitor whether they worked.

Distribution of toilets was also a problem as the ratio varied from two to 20 families a toilet while municipalities were often unsure about the size of their populations.

He said "adequate access" to sanitation was open to interpretation as generally a distinction was made between basic access, as in the case of communal toilets, and no access at all. Silber said in Cape Town alone an estimated 250 000 people do not have toilets.

He referred to a 2009 case study for The Water Dialogues which put the sanitation backlog in Cape Town at 47 650 households - slightly lower than the estimated 53 000 the city had in 2001. …