On Monday 23 August Archbishop of Cape Town the Most Reverend Dr Thabo Makgoba, Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town and Chairperson of the Western Cape Religious Leaders Forum (WCRFL), will lead a group of senior religious leaders in a ‘prayerful solidarity visit’ to Khayelitsha. The religious leaders from Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Baha’i and African Traditional communities will be escorted by the Social Justice Coalition (SJC) on an assessment of sanitation, including toilet, facilities in RR Section and Makhaza, and will listen to residents affected by inadequate sanitation.
A free press is essential to democracy, transparency and the attainment of equality
We are organisations that campaign for social justice. The success of our work is dependent on respect for the Constitution, especially the Bill of Rights. The right to free expression and freedom of the press and other media are essential components of democracy. That is why they are contained in the Bill of Rights. They are one of the essential means by which all people in South Africa, especially the vulnerable, exploited and poor, can hold government and the powerful private business sector to account.
Cape Times articles investigate life in RR section.
Diarrhoea, death, disability. Anso Thom uncovers the indignity of living without sanitation.
On Tuesday 8 June the SJC met with The Most Reverend Dr Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, regarding our mutual concern for the spiralling situation in Makhaza. Below is the letter submitted from his office on Tuesday to the Mayor of Cape Town, Premier of the Western Cape, and representatives of National Government.
SAHRC Finds that the City violated Makhaza residents’ right to dignity as envisaged by section 10 of the Constitution by not enclosing the toilets and that the City ought to have ensured that the rights of all were protected, promoted and fulfilled. The Commission also noted the legacy of Apartheid in which adequate sanitation was denied the majority of citizens and finds that the consultation process was inadequate.
1. In a statement last week and an associated opinion piece in the Cape Times (27 May 2010) the SJC – a grassroots social movement campaigning non-violently for improved sanitation services in informal settlements – condemned the politicisation of the provision of toilets to residents in Makhaza. We urged all parties to refocus on the fundamental issue, specifically that countless people in Makhaza have been and continue to be deprived of their constitutional rights to health, safety and dignity.
This article appeared in The Cape Times on 27 May 2010.
There was widespread controversy earlier this year when it emerged that 50 households in the low-income settlement of Makhaza (Khayelitsha) had been provided with unenclosed toilets, leaving residents deprived of their rights to health, safety and dignity. The City of Cape Town, governed by the DA, claimed an agreement had been reached with the community. It entailed the commitment to build an external toilet for each home, as opposed to one for every five homes, provided each household built their own enclosures (walls and roofs). However, many were not aware of this arrangement and, in some cases, were unable to afford the material with which to do so, forcing them to use uncovered toilets in full view of the passing public.
On Thursday 20 May a demonstration was held outside the Department of Home Affairs in Cape Town, South Africa, to protest against the sentencing of Malawian couple Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga. The two men were given 14 years in jail for ‘gross indecency’ and the ‘crime’ of getting engaged.
An SJC member and Khayelitsha resident was stabbed in the face on Saturday whilst trying to relieve himself in a clearing alongside the N2 highway.
Makhosandile “Scarre” Qezo, who lives in RR section – an informal settlement in Khayelitsha in which there are approximately 3000 households and only 240 toilets – had walked across Lansdowne Road and was relieving himself behind a bush in the clearing alongside the N2 when two men attacked him.
On 19 April 2010 the Social Justice Coalition held a mass-meeting in the OR Tambo Hall in Khayelitsha, to discuss sanitation and safety in informal settlements – issues identified by the surrounding communities as principle areas of concern. Approximately 500 residents were in attendance.