Thursday, 19 August 2010

Visit To Khayelitsha To Assess Toilet Situation

On Monday 23 August the Most Reverend Dr Thabo Makgoba, Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town and Chairperson of the Western Cape Religious Leaders Forum (WCRFL), will lead a group of senior religious leaders in a ‘prayerful solidarity visit’ to Khayelitsha. The religious leaders from Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Baha’i and African Traditional communities will be escorted by the Social Justice Coalition (SJC) on an assessment of sanitation, including toilet, facilities in RR Section and Makhaza, and will listen to residents affected by inadequate sanitation.

The visit will begin in RR Section, one of Khayelitsha’s poorest and most underdeveloped informal settlements, to assess the provision of sanitation services. They will then go to Makhaza to review the situation with the unenclosed toilets, originally inspected by the Archbishop on Tuesday 8 June. The visit will conclude with prayers in Makhaza for those affected by the consequences of inadequate sanitation.

Upon first visiting the site of the unenclosed toilets the Archbishop wrote an open letter to the Mayor of the City of Cape Town, Dan Plato, urging him to acknowledge serious flaws in the process and adhere to the recommendations made in the recent Human Rights Commission findings. He suggested that a public meeting needed to be called and offered his personal assistance as a mediator. The SJC welcomes the Archbishop’s dedication to resolving the current impasse.

The Western Cape Religious Leaders Forum believe that the faith sector must be on the cutting edge of transformation and service delivery, by being visibly present wherever people’s basic rights are being denied and their human dignity is undermined. Prayerful solidarity can open the door to strong action by the faith communities, so offering encouragement and helping to bring about hope- and life-giving change for the disadvantaged.

The Social Justice Coalition welcomes the support of the faith sector in its campaign for access to sanitation facilities, and the challenge to uphold each person’s right to a healthy, safe and dignified life.

Background Information

According to the Water Dialogues report (2009), approximately half a million people in informal settlements in the City of Cape Town have access to an inadequate or non-existent sanitation service. The Department of Water and Environmental Affairs acknowledges that in South Africa over 100 children may die daily from diarrhoeal diseases, while adequate sanitation can reduce the incidence of diarrhoeal diseases by up to 40% (see http://www.dwa.gov.za/events/SanitationWeek/2008/tips.asp).

Note to media: The group will begin their visit at 3pm at the O R Tambo Centre in Mew Way. The visit should be concluded by 4.30pm.

Issued on 19 August 2010 by the Office of the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, the WCRLF and the SJC. For further information contact Elizabeth Petersen, Consultant, WCRLF, Tel: 021 462 2277; Cell: 082 4755116; Email: wcrlf@iafrica.com or Tom Adams of the Social Justice Coalition, Tel: 0213618160; Cell: 0765366219 Email: tomdavidadams@gmail.com

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