SJC demands release of secret Makhaza toilet report

The Social Justice Coalition (SJC) is staging a picket outside the Cape Town Civic Centre on Wednesday 20 October 2010 at 12h00, to hand over a memorandum and legal application to the Mayor. We will demand the release of a report from an internal investigation into the construction of toilets without walls and roofs in Makhaza. The City has refused to release this report. We feel that the release of the report’s findings is very much in the public interest, and that the City is legally obligated to release it.

On 24 August 2010 Councillor Grant Pascoe called for an investigation by the City Council into the

construction of the toilets, stating that he felt the “city’s decision to build toilets without proper enclosures was

unlawful”. On 27 September 2010 the SJC requested the report from this investigation. On 6 October 2010

Acting City Manager Mike Richardson responded. He noted that “the investigation found that the officials

concerned who had engaged in negotiations with the residents and concluded the agreements did so with the

best of intentions, but that such agreements would not be acceptable again. In future, national standards were

to be strictly adhered to”. He went on to say that the City has “no intention or requirement to make this report

public”.

 

Richardson’s response suggests that the investigation produced findings which are crucial to understanding

what went wrong with the Makhaza toilet process and indeed how the delivery, maintenance, and

coordination of sanitation services should be addressed more broadly. At present, 500 000 people in the City

of Cape Town do not have access to basic sanitation, which negatively impacts on their health and safety

(Water Dialogues: 2009). Residents of informal settlements are routinely assaulted, robbed, raped and

murdered on the often long and arduous walk to the nearest functioning toilet. People often become sick with

diahorrea, gastroenteritis, and other illnesses as a result of stagnant and polluted water which is often left to

gather outside their homes. Sewerage spills are often left unattended for days, weeks and even months. The

SJC is working in Khayelitsha to ensure the realisation of resident’s rights to safety, health, and dignity

through calling for the improvement of sanitation services.

 

The Public Access to Information Act (PAIA) states that any member of the public has the right to access

State held information, required for the exercise or protection of any rights. On Wednesday, we will hand over

a PAIA application to the Mayor’s office. We hope that the City will choose to provide the report immediately,

instead of spending taxpayer’s money to contest our request in court. We feel that this is especially important

given current attempts to stifle access to information, and the City and DA’s principled stance on the matter to

date.

 

Venue:

Time & Date:

 

For more information please contact Gavin Silber on 083 777 99 81 or gavin@sjc.org,za

 

Cape Town Civic Centre, West Entrance to Main Hall (Artscape Side)

12h00, Wednesday 20 October 2010


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