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Of skips and scapegoats

Managing waste for the growing backyard housing sector

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Isandla Institute

01 January 2023

Backyard Matters, Isandla Institute


Isandla Institute Librarian


Isandla Institute

South Africa

This paper titled Of skips and scapegoats: Managing waste for the Growing Backyard Housing Sector (PDF, 6.47 MB) describes the work of the Isandla Institute, which involves research and advocacy concerning the provision of free basic services to backyard residents in municipalities. The focus is on how municipalities often overlook these residents when providing essential services funded by the equitable share, such as water and sanitation infrastructure. The case study mentioned in 2023 specifically examines waste management in the context of extending services to backyard residents. The research aims to build on previous advocacy efforts, arguing for the inclusion of backyard residents in the provision of various public amenities and services, including policing, healthcare, early childhood centres, libraries, and more.

The study explores the challenges and opportunities associated with extending waste management services to all indigent residents in under-serviced areas. It emphasises the societal, health, and environmental costs of failing to provide such services. The text also mentions that waste management is a critical basic service that not only addresses environmental concerns but also serves as an entry point for various local economic development and employment opportunities. Furthermore, the report briefly touches on multiple interventions that may not be resource-intensive but can have significant positive impacts in the short, medium, and long term concerning refuse removal initiatives. Overall, Isandla Institute's work focuses on promoting inclusive and comprehensive service provision to improve the living conditions of all residents, particularly those in under-serviced areas and backyard dwellings.


Abstract based on original source.




Website References


Backyard dwellings

Built environment

Cape Town

Child welfare


Economic development


Human settlements






Poverty & inequality



Service delivery

Solid waste

South Africa



Water and sanitation

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