Cape Town toilets audit finds only 36% clean

Only 36%, or 188 out of 528 toilets visited during a social audit on Cape Town’s janitor services, were found to be clean inside.

Twenty-eight percent of the public toilets visited in Khayelitsha were in a dirty condition, and 21% were very dirty.

The social audit found that a lack of adequate planning, management and monitoring of the service has undermined the quality of its delivery, resulting in toilets that are often too dirty to use.

This is despite a R60-million budget for a janitor services project.

The project employs 900 janitors in 160 communities of informal settlements across the city and is supposed to service about 11 000 toilets.

Three-quarters of 193 residents surveyed said their toilet was usually locked. This was also a problem for the janitors, who said they could not easily access toilets to clean them, slowing down the cleaning process.

Only 7%, or 14 of the 193 residents asked, said janitors cleaned toilets in their area seven days a week, and a third said toilets in their area were cleaned only once a week.

Some residents had opted to keep the toilets clean themselves.

“At the public hearing, Premier Helen Zille said that it is not a bad thing for residents to clean toilets themselves, pointing out that she cleans her own toilet at home,” the the Social Justice Coalition said in the report.

The social audit also found that janitors were not equally distributed in all areas, and the provision and replacement of cleaning and maintenance equipment appeared to be inconsistent.

The coalition drew up a list of demands to the City of Cape Town in relation to the janitor service. These included repairs of all broken toilets, plans for how janitors would be evenly distributed in the informal settlements and an effective strategy to deal with the problem of locked toilets.

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