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The City of Cape Town notes the publication by Stats SA of the results of the Household Survey 2015. We note the data presented but believe that it needs to be interrogated and verified against other data before it can be used to manage future implementation.

In general, it is inexplicable that Stats SA uses ‘RDP standards’ when these standards have long been replaced. There are, for example, Department of Housing standards that are applied to service provision, and standards defined in the Water Services Act.

On energy provision, it is inexplicable that Stats SA has only reported the results at a provincial level, yet does not report this data at a metro level when it does do so for the other services. The data shows that 96% of households in the Western Cape receive electricity from mains for lighting.On the provision of water, the report indicates that 1 116 000 households (96,3%) in Cape Town have adequate access to a piped water supply at RDP standards or higher and 43 000 (3,7%) at a lower standard, including 6 000 (0,5%) with no water supply.

The City of the opinion that 99,5% of households have an adequate supply of water at the required minimum standard.

The greatest concern with the reporting on the Household Survey is that of household access to sanitation. Stats SA reports that 1 063 000 households (91,8%) have access to at least basic sanitation. It reports that 67 000 households (5,8%) have bucket or no sanitation. The City of Cape Town does not agree with this assessment.

The primary problem seems to lie with Stats SA’s definition of access to sanitation, which it defines as ‘flush toilet connected to a public sewerage system or septic tank or a pit latrine with ventilation pipe’. This definition excludes significant other toilet technologies, such as chemical toilets, portable flush toilets and container toilets, which are widely recognised as adequate technologies for basic sanitation provision.

The Stats SA definition is at odds with the Section 9(i) of the Water Services Act (1997), which defines Sanitation Minimum Standards as:

  • The provision of appropriate health and hygiene education; and
  • A toilet which is safe, reliable, environmentally sound, easy to keep clean, provides privacy and protection against the weather, is well ventilated, keeps smells to a minimum and prevents the entry and exit of flies and other disease-carrying pests

All of the alternative typologies that the City of Cape Town provides in informal settlements meet the legal definition and the national standard. This includes chemical toilets, portable flush toilets and container toilets. Chemical and container toilets are not only cleaned three times a week but also receive daily janitorial servicing in Cape Town.

These typologies are used due to the unfavourable ground conditions in most informal settlements which prevent the installation of full-flush toilets, along with other legal technicalities. Ventilated pits are not a possibility in Cape Town due to, for example, our higher water table. The only alternative to these facilities would be no sanitation at all – a scenario the City of Cape Town would never accept as a caring city.

The City’s own evaluation of sanitation provision is as follows:

Estimated total households in the city 1 134 925
Formal households 898 557
Informal households in informal settlements 156 755
Backyarders in private and Council property 79 612


Toilet provision (i.e. access to specific type of toilet)    
Formal households 898 557 Access to full-flush
Backyarder households serviced 79 612 Access to full-flush in primary dwelling
Households in informal settlements serviced at 1:1 21  063 Access to PFTs (20 538)

Modified Afrisan toilets (525)

Households in informal settlements serviced at 1:4 352 Access to Dehydration Enviroloo  (352)
Households in informal settlements serviced at 1:5 143 145 Access to full-flush (77 255)

Chemical toilets (29 585)

Container toilets (33 000)

Ventilated pit toilets (1 435)

Urine diversion – Mobisan (70)

Pour-flush toilets (1 800)

Households serviced by 25-litre black buckets 217 Note that all households using black buckets have been

offered alternative sanitation

Households not serviced 0 As confirmed by the 2012 Department of Water Affairs Report on the status of sanitation services in South Africa, according to which Cape Town has 100% access to adequate sanitation – page 38 of 40
Total households 1 143 043 i.e. all serviced i.e. 8 118 more than estimated 1 134 925 number of total households in the City of Cape Town

The number of households estimated by Stats SA differs from the City’s current estimate by approximately 25 000.

Both new housing developments as well as informal households can be established on any given day, and these numbers are thus not to be taken as perfectly accurate.

The City will engage with Stats SA on their data to determine where it differs from that of the City, and will seek to establish where in the city the alleged 67 000 un-serviced households are alleged to be located, so that the City can audit these outcomes through an on-site evaluation.

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