Sustainable and equitable sanitation in informal settlements of Cape Town: a common vision?
Sustainability and equity are two desirable but ambiguous concepts often used to describe goals for sanitation services internationally and in South Africa. Both concepts are mentioned repeatedly in policy documents and government reports. There is, however, a gap between policy and implementation, and part of the problem lies in the challenge of reconciling the pressure to deliver immediate results with a long-term vision to strive towards sustainable and equitable sanitation services. Perspectives, priorities, and barriers to sustainability and equity in implementation, recognised amongst water and sanitation sector stakeholders in Cape Town, were analysed and compared with policy documents and municipal records. The research methods included a review of municipal and national sanitation policy documents and reports, and unstructured interviews with municipal officials, development NGO workers, sanitation consultants and entrepreneurs working in Cape Town municipality. In this paper, challenges to integrating sustainability and equity principles into various stages of sanitation service development are highlighted, and preliminary recommendations for addressing challenges are made, with an emphasis on stakeholder participation.
Keywords: urban sanitation, sustainability, equity, South Africa