Voices of South Africa’s Informal Settlement Residents during the COVID-19 Crisis


Week of July 27, 2020

  • Metros: More than half of the Western Cape’s COVID-19 infections are found in Cape Town neighborhoods that contain informal settlements which are hotspots for infection because they don’t have enough taps and toilets, and these communal facilities are not cleaned often enough. While all metros have responded to the immediate crisis, Asivikelane results point to longer term service challenges. Download the PDF.
  • Non-Metros: Residents in all non-metros reported improved access to basic services, especially water, but Emalahleni and Msunduzi still fall short across all the services. Most concerning in these municipalities is the limited water access, the lack of municipal provided sanitation and lack of toilet cleaning where residents do have access to municipal toilets. Download the PDF.
  • Download the data for metros and non-metros.

Week of June 30, 2020

  • Metros: Two-thirds of Asivikelane participants are women and most of them say that there is not enough public lighting in their informal settlements. On the bright side, most metros now have green traffic lights for water however sanitation is still at critical levels. We hope that metros will use their share of the R11 billion of additional equitable share funding announced by Minister Mboweni, as well as reprioritised conditional grant funding, to address this problem. Download the PDF.
  • Non-Metros: While there are still too many red lights, almost all non-metro municipalities have improved their services to informal settlements. Download the PDF.
  • Download the data for metros and non-metros.

Week of June 17, 2020

  • Metros: The provision of sanitation in metro informal settlements has not improved and remains at crisis levels everywhere except Ekurhuleni. Some residents have no access to sanitation and where communal toilets are provided, they are not regularly cleaned or maintained. This situation should be addressed immediately to slow down the exponential spread of Covid-19 in Gauteng and the Eastern and Western Cape. Download the PDF.
  • Non-metros: While the water situation looks better, toilet cleaning and refuse removal in non-metro informal settlements are still extremely limited. Cederberg, Emalahleni and Msunduzi, for example, do no cleaning of communal toilets at all. Download the PDF.
  • Download the data for metros and non-metros.

Read older releases.

About Asivikelane

The Asivikelane initiative gives voice to informal settlement residents in South Africa’s major cities who are faced with severe basic service shortages during the COVID-19 crisis. Residents answer three questions about their access to water, clean toilets and waste removal – the results will be published bi-weekly and shared with the relevant government actors.

Asivikelane TV: Episode 3

Watch episode 3 to hear from IBP South Africa’s partners on the state of informal settlements in Cape Town, South Africa during COVID-19.


 Just Published: Asivikelane Briefs 3 and 4

Brief #3 presents information collected during May 2020 about food security initiatives and plans of government and the Solidarity Fund, particularly with regard to the provision of food parcels and food vouchers. Read the full brief.

Brief #4 summarizes what metros have reported for the delivery of basic services – water, sanitation, refuse collection and soap or sanitizer – in informal settlements, as well as what they reported in terms of food parcels or other forms of nutritional support for households. Read the full brief.

Asivikelane is an initiative of IBP South Africa, Planact, the SASDI Alliance, Afesis-corplan, DAG, SJC and Grassroot with funding provided by the European Union, Open Society Foundation, Luminate and Raith Foundation. By responding to three questions weekly about their access to water, clean toilets and waste removal, residents offer us a window into their daily experiences. The detailed results will be published weekly and shared with the relevant municipalities and national government departments to enable swift government response.

Questions? Email [email protected]

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