Community Toilet Block in Langa, Cape Town

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Focus Areas: Water & Sanitation

This project aimed to address the need for improved sanitation facilities in the Joe Slovo Settlement (in Langa), Cape Town. This took the form of community toilet block. The City of Cape Town and Western Cape province have been impressed with the Alliance’s ability to block out their sites, reducing the average size in order to do further construction. This meant they were willing to engage the community in their sanitaition project. The Alliance assisted the Joe Slovo community to negotiate with the state, especially regarding a new parastatal, which is responsible for upgrading activities in Joe Slovo and how best to minimize disruption to households affected. Elements of this project will be replicated in 11 pilot sites in Cape Town, where the Alliance will work in cooperation with the city authorities to upgrade these sites in situ. Insufficient mobilization of the community was a challenge for the project. The contract was not renewed as Joe Slovo is now benefitting from services through the government implemented Upgrading Informal Settlements Programme (UISP), 700 units being occupied by beneficiaries.  

Location: Joe Slovo, Cape Town, South Africa
Bunita Kohler (+27) 21 689 9408 View Website
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Project information updated: 20 March 2014

Project in depth

Detailed Information

Project activity started in 2010. Since responding to a fire in the settlement in 2009 (474 shacks being burnt down), Government interactions with the community have improved. A platform for negotiation was established with the South African Alliance of the Community Organisation Resource Centre (CORC), Informal Settlement Network (ISN), Federation of the Urban Poor (FEDUP) and uTshani, the national urban poor fund. The community was engaged around re-blocking the burnt out area. This established the presence of the Alliance in the settlement and helped form relationships, used for the Joe Slovo Toilets project. The Joe Slovo settlement is situated 10km east of Cape Town’s city centre, along a vacant strip of highway. The settlement emerged as a result of the increased rate of urbanization. Due to high prices of rent and housing, people have resorted to shacks for shelter meaning sanitation facilities are poor. All UPFI-funded projects are part of what is known as the People’s Housing Process, which includes subsidy funds from the national government, distributed by each province.

Constant improvements of relationships with government helps sustainability of such projects. Supporting this, the toilet block has a caretaker in charge of maintenance, who is paid by community savings. Various community members made contributions at the beginning of the project, which triggered more participation. The Federation has put in much effort to mobilise savings in the community through the work of profiling.

Funding Information



Fully funded

Implementing Partners

South African SDI Alliance

Norway Ministry of Foreign Affairs