Cape Town Sanitation and Health Programmes Context

Prior to 1994, provincial government administrated all the “black and coloured areas” around the City of Cape Town. Minimal, inadequate, or no WaSH services were provided in these areas. The White Paper on Water Supply and Sanitation Policy in 1994 introduced the principles of domestic water for basic human needs and realistic water tariffs (The Sustainability Institute, South Africa, 2007). Users were to be required to pay for the operation and maintenance costs (World Bank, 2011). The document indicated a fundamental shift in national government involvement in the delivery of basic water and sanitation services to previously disadvantaged people, many of whom were living in rural areas. This policy prompted the publishing of a draft National Sanitation White Paper in 1996. Although the draft White Paper was never formally approved, it marked the first time a national sanitation policy had been prepared which addressed that the government has a constitutional responsibility to ensure all South Africans have access to adequate sanitation (South Africa Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, 2001).The Basic Household Sanitation Policy 2001 improved upon the initial attempts outlined in the 1996 White Paper. This policy in 2001 focused specifically on the provision of a basic level of household sanitation to rural communities and informal settlements because these areas demonstrated the greatest need (South Africa Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, 2001). The documents prior to the 2001 Policy primarily focused on sanitation relating to facility needs, such as toilet maintenance. The Basic Household Sanitation Policy 2001 deemed it necessary to define sanitation to include community participation in decision-making and greater knowledge and awareness of sanitation-related health practices and improved hygiene (South Africa Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, 2001). As a result, four key themes emerged; Demand Driven Development, Affordable Systems, Dual Responsibility, and Full Participation (The Sustainability Institute, South Africa, 2007). The Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF) views Demand Driven Development as the most significant theme. The first Policy Principle is as follows:

Household sanitation is first and foremost a household responsibility and must be demand responsive. Households must recognise the need for adequate toilet facilities for them to make informed decisions about their sanitation options. For users to benefit maximally, they must also understand the link between their own health, good hygiene and toilet facilities (South Africa Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, 2001).The Demand Driven Development theme is instrumental to WaSH-UP Services because it illustrates the motive to understand Langrug’s most urgent needs and utilize such demands as guides for developing and implementing programs.The Strategic Framework for Water Services, 2003 set out the future approach for provision of water services. Of the national targets set, some of the most critical for Cape Town include access for all people to functioning basic water supply by 2008 (achieved in the city by 2005/06), and access for all people to functioning basic sanitation by 2010 (Cape Town’s aim was for 2012, due to the extent of the requirement and its unique challenges). The 2012 target was not met, but was aligned with the Department of Housing’s (now the Department of Human Settlements) target to eradicate informal settlements by 2014 (Water Affairs, Human Settlements, 2012).

The Spatial Growth and Development Strategy (2006) and the Western Cape Provincial Spatial Development Framework (2006) are overarching growth and development frameworks for the Western Cape. Key challenges and opportunities are highlighted and targets are set, including for water and sanitation, providing a medium-term strategic framework for municipal Integrated Development Plans (IDP) (Water Affairs, Human Settlements, 2012).

Often in informal settlements, genuine community participation and consultation on matters of sanitation choices and service delivery options have not occurred with community members. Research collected in The Water Dialogues: Cape Town Case Study indicate that decisions either appear to have been made by the municipality or were jointly discussed between the municipality and community leaders of the area. Thus, at best, communities are informed of decisions already made at committee meetings, and at worst receive the sanitation options without any prior communication at all (The Water Dialogues, 2009).