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


Week of September 23, 2020

  • Metros: Up to 45% of informal settlement residents contracted the coronavirus in the first wave. The sharp increase in the number of red traffic lights in Asivikelane 11 makes us worry that the second wave of infections will start and spread in informal settlements. Download the PDF.
  • Non-Metros: The situation in non-metro municipalities remains stable with reasonable access to water, but with a few persistent crisis points in toilet cleaning and refuse removal. After the situation was initially dire, Witzenberg has provided consistent water and refuse removal. Download the PDF.
  • Download the data for metros and non-metros.

Week of August 26, 2020

  • Metros: Asivikelane has reported many persistent service delivery problems in informal settlements – some of which have yet not been addressed. Additionally, informal settlement residents are even more dependent on government services than before with more than 40% of households losing income due to COVID-19. Download the PDF.
  • Non-Metros: Msunduzi and Emalahleni have improved their water access significantly, while other municipalities have maintained their green lights. However, in many municipalities refuse removal and toilet cleaning remain at crisis levels. Download the PDF.
  • Download the data for metros and non-metros.

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.
  • 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]

Follow us on social media