Both the formal and informal areas of Khayelitsha, to this day, are lit almost entirely by high-mast lights. The apartheid government used these lights exclusively in townships to police and control Black communities.
The City of Cape town believes high-mast lights should be avoided because they cast deep and dark shadows, yet they continue to provide these lights only in Black townships.
In 2017 we made significant progress in this campaign. After we wrote to the mayoral committee member for energy, and engaged all councillors in the City through a public letter, Mayor Patricia de Lille committed R40 million to provide more lighting in Khayelitsha over the next three years. Although this amount will be insufficient to address the inequitable, apartheid-era allocation of public lighting, we will be closely monitoring the Mayor’s commitment while campaigning for effective public lighting in Black townships.
The lack of effective public lighting plays a major role in creating unsafe areas where crime can thrive. Informal settlement residents are at risk due to the darkness many people must face when accessing public transport early in the morning and late at night.