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Voices of informal settlement residents during the COVID-19 crisis


Week of November 18, 2020

Week of October 29, 2020

  • Metros: While national government reduced conditional grants to some metros, they all benefited from the R11 billion increase in equitable share funding in the national adjustments budget approved in August. Consequently, we see an overall increase in spending, but not for informal settlement services. The result is that services to informal settlements are slowing down or, in some cases, even declining. Download the PDF.
  • Non-Metros: Some improvements have been noted in Witzenberg, but not much has changed in the non-metro municipalities. Access to all three services remains a challenge in many municipalities, with access to water and sanitation particularly concerning. Download the PDF.
  • Download the data for metros and non-metros.

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.

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.

Week of June 2, 2020

Release six shows that the good working relationship between Asivikelane and eThekwini, Ekurhuleni and Buffalo City is reflected in the service delivery improvements in those metros. The Asivikelane campaign keeps growing, with 181 informal settlements now participating and separate results for the first time for non-metro municipalities.

Week of May 19, 2020

Release number five highlights that the National Treasury gave metros R2.4bn in unspent funding for informal settlement water, sanitation and refuse removal! However, broken, clogged, and irregularly cleaned toilets still remain a problem in many areas.

Week of May 4, 2020

Data from release four shows a concerning uptick in COVID-19 infections in the past two weeks and many settlements still don’t have consistent access to water or clean toilets. But, in better news, masks, soap and sanitizer have been distributed across many settlements along with protective clothing so residents can clean toilets.

Week of April 20, 2020

Data from release three shows improvements in some settlements with water shortages, broken taps and toilets being fixed. However, the cleaning of communal toilets remains and crisis proportions and could contribute to the spread of COVID-19 if left unaddressed.

Week of April 6, 2020

Data from release two reveals some settlements are still experiencing issues with access to water, clean toilets and waste removal, however, there have been improvements and the Minister of Human Settlements has asked for a briefing on week one data.

Week of March 30, 2020

Release one is in with good and bad news on access to water, clean toilets and waste removal.

Week of March 23, 2020

IBP South Africa and our partners issued these initial guidelines on how individuals living in informal settlements can protect themselves during the COVID-19 crisis.