Dialogue held to discuss sanitation matters

The Department of Water and Sanitation, representatives of local government and members of the Khayelitsha Water and Sanitation Forum met recently to discuss the challenges relating to santitation services in informal settlements.

One of the points raised was that sanitation was a particularly tough task in areas built on wetlands – and the aim of the meeting was to not only discuss how to deal with the problem, but to draft a detailed plan of action.

Water leaks and sewer spillages topped the agenda.

Those at the meeting were also concerned that there seemed to be little awareness around health education.

Mchumane Hlazo, deputy director of the Department f Water and Sanitation called for areas where people were not satisfied with services, to be identified, and called on community leaders to play an active role in educating people.

“Poor water saving culture and water wastage is a problem. All the advertisements and awareness campaigns are in vain if local leaders are not educating the communities,” he said.

His counterpart at the City of Cape Town, Llast Madondo, lamented that there were high rates of vandalism and frequent blockages. He said other informal settlements like Monwabisi Park have sand dunes that blocked the toilets and emphasises that any pilot project or new technology needed to provide dignity, it should be reliable, safe, protected from weather, easy to keep clean and be ventilated.

Khayelitsha Water and Sanitation Forum chairperson, Thulani Zondani, said: ”We are trying to have a joint plan to identify hot spots. They have identified the hot spots but in their own way. Now we need to do that together, using (uniform) criteria. Our focal point should be clear,” he said.

Mr Zondani said the next meeting would involve the Human Settlements department. “We need to understand the human settlements department’s plan and how people view these hot spots. Sanitation is very challenging throughout the country, not only in the province.

“It will be difficult to address it quickly. We all know the challenges of new settlements,” he said.