A qualitative exploration of the complexities in agenda-setting and participation processes in sanitation services in Site C, Khayelitsha: 2010-2013
Lonja, Zoliswa Caroline
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"Sanitation is dignity" as the state has proclaimed while water is life. Yet to date, there are families and communities that are still dreaming that one day their dignity will be restored and they will have access to proper toilets, clean water that are within close proximity including proper houses. In the 24th year of democracy, people in South Africa are still protesting and challenging government to address the inequalities of the past and reset the agenda of change. These persistent protests are about basic needs and service delivery, but increasingly protestors are invoking the concept of relative needs, dignity and human rights and taking protests to the powerful and wealthy. In fact, the idea of the state as sacrosanct has been deflated since protestors throw poo at state officials and vandalise state infrastructure. The “poo wars” that broke out in 2012 with poo dumped at the airport and government buildings continued with the dumping of excrement on the Rhodes statue at UCT shows that the poor can sometimes set the agenda of change and force politicians to listen. Among the defensive responses raised by authorities is that people put their shacks on private land or pieces of land that are not suitable for housing (wetlands). Politically, there are complex issues in the Western Cape, both the Province and the City of Cape Town Metro are Democratic Alliance (DA) run whilst national government is ruled by the African National Congress (ANC). The majority of townships residents are ANC supporters with a few DA Proportional Representative (PR) councillors. This study looks at a qualitative exploration of the complexities in agenda-setting and participation processes in sanitation services in Site C, Khayelitsha between 2010-2013.Residents see agenda setting and engagements as unilateral, as this study found. It is designed into six chapters. The study was designed in a manner that it would reflect the knowledge and understanding the notion of consultation, community participation in decision-making, agenda-setting and implementation of projects or programmes by the people of Khayelitsha-Site C, Councillors, Shopstewards and officials of the City of Cape Town. Over 20 interviews were completed. A key finding is that by taking poo out of its usual place, taking it out of the private into the public domain and to the rich and by invading their space, the issues of the poor are no longer confined to ghetto townships. Boundaries between state and civil society have become porous. Cape Town’s poor residents using portable toilets commonly known as "pota-pota", and also the temporary toilets commonly known as ‘Mshengu’ have argued that these interim services are not only poorly maintained and dirty but are vastly inferior compared to white areas.