Sanitation partnerships - Durban

Case study - Durban, South Africa


In Durban, South Africa, the Municipality has developed a small contractor development-cum-franchise model for manual pit emptying: sub-contractors employ teams of locally-resident wage labourers who transfer pit waste into drums and from there into specially modified waste skips, where it is screened, before being disposed of safely. The teams enjoy the protection of the law and work in daylight using long-handled shovels, heavy gloves and gumboots. This is in sharp contrast to situations such as Kibera, Nairobi (see below for comparitive case study.)


The Durban model is premised on a growing a pool of service providers able to address the city's pit-emptying needs, creating jobs. Councillors set up project liaison committees, manage interactions with residents and recruit labourers.  Given that the programme is funded fully by the Municipality and that the service providers are contracted, this case study raises important questions about the nature of partnerships and the distinction between partnerships and contractual arrangements.  The franchising arrangement also offers an interesting glimpse into how Output-Based Aid (OBA) approaches could assist in providing sanitation services to low-income areas.



Related publications

Durban case study: 1-page overview 

Bringing pit emptying out of the darkness - BPD paper comparing manual pit emptying in Durban and Nairobi

An investigation of the franchising option for water services in South Africa - K. Wall, WEDC International Conference, 2004 (Register free to download publication).

What is OBA? Supporting infrastructure delivery through explicit and performance-based subsidies - GPOBA, March 2005.

Engaging sanitation entrepreneurs - Supporting private entrepreneurs to deliver public goods