A public toilet project to meet the need for safe, clean public ablution facilities in town has been launched by the Cape Town Central City Improvement District.

The four-month pilot project was launched in mid-May with two units being installed on the corner of Adderley and Darling streets, followed shortly by two units in Longmarket Street in the East City.

They are open seven days a week, from Monday to Sunday, from 07h00 to 23h00.

CCID CEO Tasso Evangelinos says the aim is to alleviate the chronic shortage of facilities in downtown Cape Town and also provide facilities that are not only open during the day, but at night as well

Public toilets in the Cape Town CBD are few and far between, and the well-known ones, including those on Greenmarket and Thibault squares and the Grand Parade, are only open during normal working hours. While some visitors can get relief in bars and restaurants, other people don’t have access to these venues, including the CBD’s homeless community.

Since their installation, the toilets, which are free, have been used by thousands of people: from 30 May 2022 to 17 July 2022, 10 592 visitors to the CBD used the facilities at both sites.

Kally Benito, manager of the CCID’s Urban Management department, says public safety is paramount and both sites are monitored daily by Public Safety Officers of the CCID’s Safety & Security department.

The project is also a job-creating opportunity, says Benito, and has provided work for eight people, on average, per site.

The Public Toilet Pilot Project ties in with the CCID’s ongoing social projects and efforts with its NGO partners to find sustainable and creative solutions to address the plight of the homeless in the CBD. On this project we are collaborating with two of our NGO partners – Khulisa Social Solutions and Straatwerk – that are providing trained workers who earn a stipend to manage the toilets, which are cleaned and sanitised every time they are used.

We have had a very positive response from members of the public, and we hope that by adding to the existing infrastructure in town, the resources used by our Urban Management department to clean unsightly hot-spot areas in town can be redirected to other projects.

Evangelinos says the pilot will give the CCID the opportunity to understand the costs and challenges with operating a public ablution facility in a busy city centre with heavy foot traffic.