We demand a fair, equal and just budget

The way that a city allocates its budget has a direct and profound impact on the quality and quantity of services for its residents. A progressive budget can be used to address social inequalities and push resources to the people and places that need them most. Alternatively, a budget can also reinforce and deepen inequalities and discriminate against the poor and marginalised.

The provision of basic services, including sanitation and water, are municipal functions. This means that cities are responsible to provide these services and must allocate money from their budgets to do so.

The findings from our research and analysis on the City of Cape Town’s budgets show that capital allocations for sanitation in informal settlements – used for long term infrastructure such as flush toilets – are extremely low and disproportionately small.

Instead the City focuses its spending on inferior, expensive and temporary sanitation facilities for informal settlements. The City argues that it is constrained by where it can install toilets due to the things such as flood. This is an irrational argument and our data shows that the City can in fact install flush toilets that are cleaner, healthier and more dignified to use.

For the past two years, we have worked with community members in Khayelitsha and Nyanga and assisted residents in making more than 500 submission on the 2015/16 and more than 3000 on the 2016/17 City’s draft budget. Before this there was extremely limited public participation in the budget process – in 2014 there were only 27 submissions from the public!

The SJC will continue to analyse the City’s budget and work with communities in our campaign for a budget that focuses on people living in informal residents where there is the greatest and most severe need.

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