PRELIMINARY FINDINGS: Social Audit on the Janitorial Service for Flush Toilets in Four Khayelitsha Informal Settlements

Social Audit coverage:

  • Total number of residents interviewed: 195
  • Total number of janitors interviewed: 31
  • Total number of toilets inspected: 528
  • Total number of social auditors: 90

Documents inspected:  

  • Project Initiation Document (PID), CoCT, November, 13, 2013
  • Systems Procedure for Janitorial Services, CoCT, 17 July 2013
  • Janitors employed in Khayelitsha informal settlements (as of 11 July 2014), CoCT, 11 July 2014
  • Presentation by City of Cape Town, 14 July 2014
  • Letter from Cllr. Ernest Sonnenberg, Request of Clarity Regarding the Development of the Janitorial Service Implantation (sic) Plan, 11 July 2014
  • Basic Conditions of Employment Act (1997) (Code of Good Practice for Employment and Conditions of Work for EPWP, 18 February 2011)
  • Personal protective equipment policy Doc V1.3, June 2011

A full report of the social audit and findings, together with all supporting documentation, will be released.


Over a quarter of flush toilets audited were not working

The janitors are responsible for minor faults and the reporting of major faults to the City’s call center and to their supervisor.(System Procedures document, p2, paragraph 5.4)

The social audit found that:

  • 138 out of 528 (26%) toilets audited do not work.

The most common reasons given for the toilet not working are:

  • 78 were blocked (15%)
  • 78 can’t flush (15%)
  • 65 had no water (12%)
  • 31 had no sewage pipe (6%)

Almost half of the toilets inspected were either dirty or very dirty

The Systems Procedure says, “Toilet cleanliness: the cleaning and sanitising of the toilets will include the toilet pan, floor, the cisterns, the inside and outside toilet structure wall and the surrounding area of the toilet facility, but limited to a maximum of 2m from the toilet facility”, p2.

The cleanliness of the inside and outside of each flush toilet was audited using the following criteria:

  Clean Dirty Very Dirty
Inside Clean toilet pan with no dirt or excrementClean floor with no rubbish.May have a little sand or clean waterGenerally clean wallsIt looks like it was last cleaned recently. Toilet pan has dirt or excrement but you can still use it carefully.Floor may have some rubbish or dirt and water.Walls have marksIt looks like it was last cleaned a while ago.  Toilet pan is blocked with excrement or rubbish and you cannot use it.Seat is filthy and you cannot sit down.Floor is covered with rubbish, rocks or sand.It looks like it hasn’t been cleaned in a long time or never.
Outside The ground has no rubbish at allLooks like it has been swept or raked. There is some rubbish onlyThere may be some leaking water There is rubbish everywhereThere may be rotting foodThere may be sewage

In terms of cleanliness inside the toilet, of the 528 toilets audited, we found:

  • 188 were clean (36%)
  • 149 were dirty (28%)
  • 109 were very dirty (21%)
  • 82 could not be audited (15%)

In terms of cleanliness on the ground outside the toilet, of the 528 toilets audited, we found:

  • 142 had clean ground (27%)
  • 155 had dirty ground (29%)
  • 134 had very dirty ground (25%)
  • 97 could not be audited (19%)


A third of residents believe that janitors clean only one day per week in their area

The Project Initiation Document states that janitorial services will include “Weekdays, Saturdays, Sundays and Public holidays” (City of Cape Town: Project Initiation Document, November, 13, 2013)

The social audit found that:

  • 35 out of 195 residents said the janitors never clean in their area.
  • 65 out of 195 residents said that janitors only clean 1 day per week in their area.
  • 32 out of 195 residents said janitors clean 2 days per week in their area.

Janitors cannot easily access toilets

The social audit found that:

  • 30% of janitors leave a note and 26% ask residents to unlock toilets.
  • 17% of janitors have not yet been able to access a toilet.
  • Many residents disagreed with janitors on what happens when toilets are locked.
  • 27% of residents thought that janitors don’t clean when a toilet is locked.

While locked toilets do not prevent cleaning, they may delay cleaning because janitors have to find an alternative way to access them, and less toilets may be cleaned in the day.

The City of Cape Town states it has begun to trial a new system of master keys, which has potential to speed up cleaning. This has not yet been trialed in Khayelitsha.

Some residents clean their own toilet

The social audit found that:

28 out of 195 residents clean their own toilets.

  • A BM resident says, “They do not come to clean, we clean for ourselves and are therefore not satisfied.”
  • A BT resident says that, “The toilets don’t get cleaned and they are not safe, it gets better if we clean them ourselves.”
  • A Nkanini resident explains that, “They don’t communicate well with us as residents, we clean the toilets ourselves as we don’t get the service.”


The distribution of janitors is unequal and not all sections have enough janitors.

The city has committed to a ratio of at least 1 janitor per 25 toilets (as per the Systems Procedure).

The SJC did a physical count and GPS mapping of the total number of flush toilets and we found the following approximate numbers: BM (648), BT (94) and PJS (146).

The City of Cape Town’s data shows that the total number of janitors in each sections: BM (42), BT (2) and PJS (0).

On the face of it the total number of janitors (44) employed to clean (888) toilets would give a ratio of 1 janitor to 22 toilets. This would meet the City’s janitor to toilet ratio of at least 1:25. However, this masks discrepancies in the different sections.

                           Toilets                    Janitors       Ratio

BM                     648                              42                     1:15

BT                      94                                2                       1:47

PJS                    146                              0                        0:146

Total                 888                             44                      1:20

BM has one janitor for every fifteen toilets and this is less than the expected ratio. BT has one janitor for every 47 toilets and this is nearly double the expected ratio. It is important to note that there are no janitors currently working in PJS.

Janitors do not have the required cleaning equipment

The PID states that the following equipment is existing:

  • Brooms, refuse bags, cleaning chemicals, and rags.

It states that the following is required:

  • Water pliers

The social audit found that:

  • 65% of janitors have brooms, refuse bags, cleaning chemicals, and rags.
  • 29% of janitors have some additional materials (e.g. toilet brush, bucket, mop, rake).
  • No janitors had pliers.

Not all janitors have the same equipment:

  • 68% of janitors had a bucket
  • 10% of janitors had a rake
  • 13% of janitors had a spade
  • 23% of janitors had a toilet brush


Janitors are not receiving the required training

The City indicates in the PID that Janitors are required to be provided with the following types of training:

  • Safety with equipment
  • Health and hygiene

The Systems Procedure states that basic ‘on the job training’ will be provided to janitors on aspects of hygiene, use of equipment, fixing basic faults (e.g. misaligned cistern floaters), p. 3.

The Basic Conditions of Employment Act (1997) (Code of Good Practice for Employment and Conditions of Work for EPWP, 18 February 2011) states that the management of an EPWP and each employer must:

  • Inform and train workers about the precautions and steps that must be taken to avoid or minimise risks and dangers to them or others;
  • Not permit workers to perform tasks for which they have not been trained.

The social audit found that:

  • Only 12% of janitors received both training in health and hygiene, and safety with equipment.
  • Of the 10 janitors who had worked for six months, only 1 had received the required training.
  • 16% of janitors received no training at all.

Janitors are not being inoculated against disease

The Systems Procedure for Janitorial services states that every janitor will be inoculated in accordance with council policy prior to starting work. The Basic Conditions of Employment Act of 1997 states that every worker has the right to work in a working environment that is safe and without risk to his or her health.

The social audit found that:

  • Only 13%, or 1 in 8 janitors were inoculated against disease.

Janitors do not receive the required Protective Personal Equipment (PPE)

There are 5 different pieces of protective equipment that janitors are supposed to be provided with. According to the City of Cape Town in its presentation to the audit on 14 July 2014 the 5 pieces of equipment are:

  • gloves, t-shirts, uniforms, boots, rainsuit.

The personal protective equipment policy Doc V1.3, June 2011 states that “Personal services shall determine and initiate processes and guidelines to ensure standardisation for the selection, purchasing, issuing and control of PPE”.

The social audit found:

  • 61% of janitors had all 5 types of PPE as stipulated by the City of Cape Town in its presentation.
  • 26% of janitors did not have raincoats.
  • 26% of janitors did not have uniforms.

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