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Swartland town’s beacon of hope

Sarah Fabie runs her own advice office

Article image

Peter Luhanga

26 May 2022



Phefumlela Bam

Media article

Towns Action Network

South Africa

Sarah Fabie a community activist from Chatsworth in Swartland nearly lost her daughter in 2001 when she fell into a pond from which families in Chatsworth drew their water. Residents marched to Parliament demanding piped water and they won the battle. Since that victory, the community of 7000 people feel they have been forgotten by the government as roads are gravel, no formal electricity connections and no sewer system, only septic tanks which residents are charged R285 a month for the tanks to be emptied by the municipal vacuum truck.

Fabie is a beacon of hope in the community as she uses her own pension and child support grant to run the advice office, tackling issues such as housing, social grants and service delivery by often travelling to the Swartland municipal offices, Legal Aid office  in Malmesbury to resolve residents issues and travels to the Housing Development Agency offices in Cape Town to the provincial legislature to track housing subsidies.

Fabie's community activism stems from her own issues of abandonment from her parents and remembers how no one was there to assist her when she needed help. It is those experiences that has led her to be strong today and help her community.

Just like any other municipality in South Africa, Chatsworth is one of 11 municipalities  in the region that must share a constrained budget. Swartland municipal manager is aware of the service backlogs when the municipality amalgamated into the Swartland Municipal area of jurisdiction in December 2020 but states that the municipality has made a significant capital investment to make service delivery possible. 

Read the full article here.

Abstract based directly on original source.


Website References



Human settlements



Service delivery

Small Towns

South Africa


Water and sanitation

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