How sociopolitical factors affected the implementation of Cape Town's vacuum sewer
Installed in an informal settlement, South Africa's first vacuum sewer failed immediately after its commissioning. Dissent from municipal officials and residents alike collectively contributed to the system's dysfunction. The failed vacuum sewer is emblematic of the limitations of technology-driven approaches in informal settlements, as well as the fallibility of popular policy assumptions about integrated planning and collective community management. It highlights the need to apply multidisciplinary approaches in sanitation delivery, whereby the often-conflicting political aspects of development are confronted in order to provide and sustain basic services in informal settlements.