The City of Cape Town’s responses in more detail (lightly edited for clarity).
1. What ratio (toilets to households) does the City regard as an acceptable standard of delivery in informal settlements?
Mayoral Committee Member for Utility Services, Ernest Sonnenberg: The City aims for a self-imposed ratio of one toilet to five families, and where possible we will improve this further. If an area can be serviced at a ratio of 1:1 the City will pursue this.
Portable flush toilets (PFTs) are provided on a 1:1 basis (i.e. any household who would like one can apply).
The figure of 1:5 was based on the section of the (National Housing Code) that relates to emergency housing, and was used in the absence of any directive from the national government as to the target ratio for informal settlements as a whole.
2. To what extent (% of households) is this ratio met in Cape Town’s informal settlements?
ES: The current ratio of toilets to households in the City’s informal settlements is, on average, 1:3.3.
As at December 2015, figures for service need reflected that, on aggregate level, only a small number of households were estimated to be outside the City’s own improved target for sanitation.
As the areas not serviced to this ratio are very localised, statistics are not available (these pockets are “absorbed” by larger areas when compiling statistics). However, it is estimated to be 7 – 8%.
In cases where the target is not met it is almost entirely due to factors beyond the City’s control. There is now little remaining scope to install full flush toilets as they cannot be legally installed on privately-owned property, in areas of extremely high density, under power lines, on landfill sites, in a road or railway buffer, within servitudes, outside the urban edge, in areas where there is no bulk infrastructure, in water bodies/retention ponds and floodplains, and in high-noise zones. Additionally some communities reject some of the alternatives that can be provided. No toilets are provided without community engagement and agreement.
Please also bear in mind that many households are serviced above this ratio.
3. What does the City regard as adequate sanitation?
ES: The City aims for sanitation provision of one toilet per five households. These toilets are regularly serviced, with alternative sanitation types* being cleaned at least three times a week (some are cleaned daily), and full flush toilets being cleaned daily via the janitorial programme.
*for example chemical toilets and portable flush toilets
4. How many households in the City are using government-serviced bucket toilets?
ES: The City has successfully eliminated the bucket system in all cases except 200 where residents have chosen to keep buckets rather than accept alternatives that have been offered on various occasions … Almost all are in Boystown (Crossroads area).
5. What does the City regard as a reasonable distance to travel to a communal toilet in an informal settlement?
ES: The City would like to ensure that all toilets are conveniently and safely located, however it is not always possible to realise this due to the high densities of the settlements and how this precludes the installation of backbone infrastructure such as piping, etc. When installing infrastructure the City takes into account the constraints present in a particular area, and engagement with the community as to the preferred location of the toilets.
Currently the average distance between dwellings and taps in informal settlements is around 30m.
6. What is the City’s tally (%) of non-working toilets in Khayelitsha?
ES: This is a moving target as toilets are needing to be fixed on an ongoing basis to due to vandalism, theft and misuse such as throwing solids into the toilets. Furthermore if it is not reported it is not guaranteed the City will know about it to fix it. The City does not install faulty toilets.
All residents should log service requests via the City’s call centre on 0860 103 089 or, for water and sanitation requests, by sending an SMS to 31373. They can also mail firstname.lastname@example.org or use their nearest free call line.
They are also encouraged to report to janitors who will pass on the reports. A form is not necessary.
7. How much has the City spent on the delivery of toilet infrastructure (capital budget) in informal settlements from July 1 2011 to June 30 2015?
ES: Approximately R111 million was spent on capital projects. This was in informal settlements exclusively.
8. How much of this amount was spent in SST?
ES: None of this was spent in SST. The City is constrained in what it can provide in the area due to the factors outlined above. As such, 100 chemical toilets and approximately 800 PFTs were provided, but these were all destroyed in a protest. The City was, for a long while, prevented from providing services in this area due to threats against our staff. However R3.6 million has been made available for capital projects in SST this year in an attempt to improve sanitation in the area.
9. How have residents of informal settlements been informed of the option to request a portable flush toilet (PFT)?
ES: Teams from the City visited informal areas when the typology was introduced upon request from the community themselves. Pamphlets were distributed, and the City regularly looks to publicise this typology in media responses.
10. What is the procedure for requesting a PFT?
ES: Any community interested in using portable flush toilets should contact their local ward councillor.