Pat’s on the toilet trail

2011-06-25 11:13

The article “Don’t forget the toilets, ma’am mayor” (City Press, June 5) by ­Axolile Notywala of the Social Justice Coalition (SJC) refers.

Anyone who has followed ­Patricia de Lille’s political career will know that she has always fought for the dignity of the poor.

Indeed, she accepted the mandate from the people of Cape Town to lead the city and is fully aware that she faces the enormous ­challenge of meeting their service-delivery expectations.

The city has already made a great deal of progress in this regard.

A recent United Nations index ranked Cape Town first over all ­other municipalities in delivering basic services.

The index uses official data from Stats SA and the ­University of Stellenbosch to ­measure the effective delivery of water, sanitation, electricity and refuse removal by municipalities throughout the country.

The index shows that 91% of Cape Town residents have access to these four basic services, while 87% have access to higher levels of the same services.

In contrast, nationally, only 54% of people have universal access to basic services and 49% have ­access to higher service levels.

But we readily acknowledge that there is a lot more work to be done, as providing such facilities in ­informal settlements is often very challenging.

For instance, it is often difficult to install water and sewerage pipes, and build toilet facilities within 100m of the toilet facility, as required by law, simply because of the densely populated nature of ­informal settlements.

This means that in some communities, toilet installations are based on the availability of land or space.

Vandalism can also be another obstacle that delays providing ­basic services. For every R3 the city spends on municipal services, an additional R2 is spent repairing that infrastructure.

This week, the mayor tabled the city’s budget, which is aimed at ­providing quality services to all Cape Town citizens, especially the poor.

A total of R1.26 billion will be spent on free, basic services to the poor in the current financial year.

The rates rebate qualification for senior citizens and the disabled has been significantly increased.

The indigent policy has been ­further expanded to include families that have a household income of less than R4 000 per month. The city will also continue providing the free, daily 350-litre allocation of water to people who cannot afford it.

These are some of the many ways that the administration will look ­after the most vulnerable members of our city.

Mayor De Lille is willing to meet the SJC soon to hear how they plan to play a role in making Cape Town the hub of opportunity.

» Malatsi is the spokesperson for the executive mayor of Cape Town, Patricia de Lille 

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