Cape toilet case heads to Equality Court | Infrastructure news

Portable toilets imageThe Equality Court will hear an application by the Social Justice Coalition (SJC) against the City of Cape Town over its alleged failure to fulfil the right of access to sanitation for poor, Black and marginalised residents in informal settlements on the 5th and 6th December.

According to the SJC there has been a continued denial of access to adequate sanitation to residents of informal settlements in Cape Town.

The SJC wants the city to present to court a reasonable plan that sets out how it intends to ensure that residents in informal settlements across the city have access to adequate and dignified sanitation.

No sensible plan

In a statement released prior to the SJC taking action against the city last year it said the continued provision of temporary solutions on a long-term basis reflects a service that is not based on a sensible plan or policy to improve access to decent, adequate and safe sanitation in informal settlements.

GroundUp reported earlier this month that the SJC claims that at least 65% of the toilets provided to informal settlements are container, chemical or portable flush toilets (PFTs).  The coalition argues that these toilets are not suitable because they are temporary in nature, require regular servicing and are generally demeaning and unsafe.

Furthermore the coalition claims that fact that these solutions are prevalent in informal settlements, where the majority of the residents are Black Africans living in poverty, the city’s actions constitute unfair discrimination on the grounds of race, socioeconomic status and location.

Constraints affecting provision

In its response to these claims the city says the law doesn’t prescribe the use of any particular toilet. It also argues that more governments around the world are exploring alternative sanitation solutions to move away from flush toilets.

The city says that while it is working on alternative sanitation solutions it has prioritised water-based sanitation however constraints such as topography, density of the informal settlement as well its location it is not always feasible to provide full flush toilets.

For in-depth coverage view the GroundUp report.



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