Masilunge

INITIATION DATE: The CUFF board approved the project on 18th August 2011. Implementation started at the end of September 2011.

LOCATION:  Masilunge informal settlement is located on the intersections of NY117 and NY5 in Nyanga, Cape Town.

PROJECT IN BRIEF: To install a drainage system from a central catchment area which connects to the City of Cape Town’s bulk stormwater infrastructure on NY5 road.

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IMPLEMENTING ORGANIZATIONS: Before the project started, extensive community engagement was required with affected shack owners. Some of the shack’s floors would have to be lifted in order to install the drainage infrastructure. This facilitation team also formed the technical coordination team who worked closely with CORC on project preparation, volunteer students from the Department of the Built Environment and Engineering, University of Cape Town, and construction supervisors from iKhayalami.

BASIC FUNDING DETAILS: The cost of the supplies and labour, plus a project contingency, was R12,500, of which the community contributed R1,200.

CONTEXT: Masilunge informal settlement is located on what used to be an open space between formal houses on the corner of NY117 and NY5 roads in Nyanga. Families of the backyarders to the formal houses grew and starting erecting shacks in an open space.

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PROJECT IMPACT: Masilunge is located on the top of a hill and every winter the divergent water streams affect almost all families in the community. At the foot of the hill, numerous households experienced flooding at regular intervals. The implementation of the drainage project would drastically reduce the occurrence of flooding problems, and thus significantly improve the living conditions of the Masilunge community. Extensive engagement with the City of Cape Town’s Stormwater department was required to linkthe informal drainage system into the City’s bulk infrastructure. This opened new avenues for the community and ISN to engage the City around flooding mitigation.

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PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The Masilunge technical steering committee has identified flooding as a major problem that adversely, and significantly, affects their community. The enumeration conducted in 2011 spotlighted this once again. The problems are fundamentally aggravated by the uneven nature of the site, high population densities, and probably most importantly, by the absence of an appropriate drainage system.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The Masilunge technical steering committee has identified flooding as a major problem that adversely, and significantly, affects their community. The enumeration conducted in 2011 spotlighted this once again. The problems are fundamentally aggravated by the uneven nature of the site, high population densities, and probably most importantly, by the absence of an appropriate drainage system.

The project identified a central catchment point from which a U-shape drain 25mm deep and 60mm wide would be installed with ten manholes. Eight manholes were located at important intersections (e.g. on an angle) for the community to easily maintain the system. The drainage system is 120m in length. As indicated in the technical sketches, eight shacks’ floors would be raised to install the pipes. Working closely with City engineers, the drains were eventually connected into the City’s stormwater bulk infrastructure on the corner of NY1117 and NY5 roads.

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OBJECTIVES: According to the proposal to CUFF, “the community will be rid of floods and rate of sickness will also decrease. About 90% of the community fully agree on this development”. As mentioned before, the intended outcome of the project was to install a drainage system to be connected to the City’s bulk stormwater challenges which is easily maintained and kept by the community. This will reduce household level flooding in the low-laying areas of the settlement.

CONSTRAINTS:  The uneven topography of the site, coupled to the high densities in the low-laying areas of the settlement caused the flooding in the first place. Negotiating with the affected structure owners was a long and tedious process for the leadership, which also caused some friction. A faction of the community did not want to be part of the project, claiming that the City was responsible for providing housing. The relationship with the formal house owners was also tarnished, and according to the community, this  “made it a very daunting challenge for the community to drain the flooding water out to the nearest formal road”. There were numerous discussions with the City’s engineers around standards for pipes and manholes. The initial sizes of pipes and manholes were based on community’s existing building experience, rather than engineering standards. A resolution was eventually reached, with the City accommodating the community needs while managing the standard procedures for linking into the storm water system.