Ms. Patricia de Lille

Mayor, City of Cape Town

Councillor Ernest Sonnenberg

Mayoral Committee Member for Utility Services

Ms. Gisela Kaiser

Executive Director of Utility Services


Mr. Afzal Brey

Mr. Regan Melody

Mr. Sharm Singh

Mr. Pierre Maritz

Mr. Tertius de Jager


1.    Today, fifteen members and supporters of the Social Justice Coalition (SJC) chain themselves outside Mayor Patricia de Lille’s office in Cape Town. It is with a heavy heart that the SJC has been left with little alternative but to take this form of action. We are driven by the unrelenting broken promises and ongoing intransigence of Mayor de Lille – on the matter of the janitorial service in particular and the crisis of sanitation facing the City’s informal settlements more generally.

2.    The SJC has used every available avenue of constructive engagement with Mayor de Lille over a period of more than two years. Through countless letters, emails, phonecalls, submissions, and meetings we have done everything possible – at the Mayor’s own request – to assist the City in developing a policy and plan for the janitorial service. Our memorandum of 25 June 2013, details the litany of commitments made and broken by the Mayor on this matter and other sanitation services.

3.    Following a letter of demand from our lawyers, the Legal Resources Centre, on 11 July 2013 requesting the ‘operational policy’ that Councillor Ernest Sonnenberg claimed had been developed in response to our memorandum, the City acceded shortly before deadline. The SJC received the ‘operational policy’ titled, ‘System Procedure: Janitorial Services’, signed on 17 July 2013 – on the day it was sent – by the acting Water and Sanitation Director, Peter Flower.

4.    Through our lawyers, the SJC requested an urgent meeting with the Mayor over this ‘operational policy’. There are major questions regarding the nature of the document, the process through which it was developed, and inconsistencies on the timing of its drafting and adoption. Our attempt to engage the Mayor through a meeting was made in light of the history of the development of the service and our lengthy engagement with the City on it.

5.    The Mayor’s response was to offer an ‘urgent’ meeting in mid-October – two months after our lawyers’ correspondence and more than a year after her commitment to hold a mini-summit for the development of a policy and implementation plan for the service through broad consultation with communities, civil society, and experts. Despite a phonecall requesting an earlier meeting due to the urgency of the matter, we were informed that this would not be possible because the Mayor’s schedule was busy.

6.    Our most recent three-month janitorial service progress report – due for release next week – again highlights the failures of the current implementation of the service. The consequences for the health, dignity, and safety of both janitors and the communities they serve are severe, life threatening, and extremely urgent. Our previous progress report can be found here.

7.    The time for broken promises is now over. The Mayor must act immediately. The Mayor must acknowledge that the City will meet our demands and agree to the firm and set deadlines. Until such time that the Mayor provides this acknowledgment we are left with no alternative but to continue with this action.


Janitorial Service Demands

The City of Cape Town must:


1.    Establish a planning committee – within the next two weeks – to coordinate the  development of the janitorial service implementation plan.

2.    Begin a process of community participation and engagement that must conclude within three months. Both the existing ‘operational policy’ and the development of an implementation plan must be subject to this process.

3.    Amend the ‘operational policy’ in line with the outcomes of the community participation and engagement process. These amendments must be completed within eight weeks of the conclusion of the participation and engagement process.

4.    Develop the implementation plan in line with the outcomes of the community participation and engagement process. The implementation plan must be completed within twelve weeks of the conclusion of the participation and engagement process.



Phumeza Mlungwana                                                Dustin Kramer

General Secretary                                                     Deputy General Secretary

074 417 8306                                                           083 674 0552


For comment please contact Phumeza, Dustin or Axolile Notywala (074 386 1584)

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