Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille will file complaints against municipalities that have "bigger" sanitation problems than the Cape. File photo: Henk Kruger

Cape Town - Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille says she is to file complaints against municipalities that have “bigger” sanitation problems than Cape Town’s, in the light of the SA Human Rights Commission (HRC) report that says the city’s sanitation arrangements violate the dignity of people living in shacks.

“If we are found to be racist and violating the dignity of people, then the other metros should also be judged on the same rule,” she told the council at its meeting on Wednesday.

In its report, released this month, the HRC said the city violated the human rights of people in informal settlements - particularly black Africans who made up most of this population - by “unreasonably” providing chemical toilets as a long-term measure.

The HRC said it had found the city was also unreasonable in applying emergency housing programme guidelines in situations that were not urgent, while following a fixed approach in determining sanitation needs.

De Lille said the HRC had been deployed to weigh in on Cape Town - “and Cape Town alone”.

“We have 45 days to respond to the HRC, but we will take it further. We will lay the same complaints in municipalities who face the same problem. If we are being rated the racist city, then all the other big metros should be labelled racist.”


The eThekwini municipality provided chemical toilets for hostels, De Lille said.

“Johannesburg pays R19 million a month for (chemical toilets) in informal settlements. Every major event uses chemical toilets, while Buffalo City and Nelson Mandela Bay have 23 000 bucket toilets. Are all of these cities inherently racist?”

The city had provided 44 500 chemical toilets this year in an effort to increase services.

“These realities, ignored by the HRC, can only mean one of two things. The HRC does not understand the realities of government in South Africa or it chooses to ignore these to make political points. It is true that the city is under attack from the ANC and its cohorts.”

De Lille took swipes at the ANC and the ministerial inquiry into the Lwandle evictions. She said inquiry chairman Denzil Potgieter, an advocate, was being paid R20 000 a day and the five inquiry members, all of them former MPs, R2 500 a day.

Inquiry spokesman Vusi Tshose referred all queries to Minister of Human Settlements Lindiwe Sisulu’s spokesman, Ndivuyho Mabaya, who could not be reached.

ANC chief whip Xolani Sotashe said: “The city is being mismanaged by the mayor. Her administration’s underspending is a clear ill-performance indicator.”

De Lille rejected the comments.

[email protected]

Cape Times