Cape Town – Of South Africa’s households, 1.4 million or about 11% have no sanitation facilities or services.
According to a report entitled The Quality of Sanitation in South Africa, which was discussed in parliament on Wednesday, the government needs to invest R44.5bn to solve the sanitation crisis.
The report found that:
Apart from the 11% of households with no services, a further 26% where infrastructure does exist are on the brink of collapse.
Of South Africa’s 826 bulk waste treatment facilities, 317 may collapse without immediate intervention.
Municipalities are partly to blame because they are not spending their capital budget allocations. The report says in 2011/12 municipalities spent only 30% of their capital budget allocations, the majority of which was not spent on sanitation.
Municipalities have severe skill constraints in the field of sanitation, with very little maintenance and planning being done in this regard.
Achmed Vawda, deputy director general in the presidency’s unit for performance management and evaluation, presented the report before the portfolio committee for human settlements on Wednesday.
The presidency was tasked to investigate the status of South africa’s sanitation, after two communities from Khayelitsha and Rammulotsi in the Free State complained over toilet facilities in 2011.
The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) and the Cape Town High Court found last year that the toilet facilities in these communities violated their human rights.
Vawda told the meeting on Wednesday that South Africa should brace itself for further protest action over toilet facilities and sanitation.
“We canot say where these protests will happen, but we know which areas are the worst off.”
The report found that communities in Gauteng and the Western Cape had the most acceptable sanitation services in the country.
Worst-off provinces are KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and Northwest.
Nomhle Dambuza, ANC MP and chairperson of the human settlements committee, said the committee is already hard at work across the country to look at ways of solving the sanitation problem.
“The biggest thing we need is a centrally located unit that specialises in sanitation, located in the department of human settlements, to look into the issue as a priority.”
DA MP Stevens Mokgalapa said the ANC government promised access to proper toilets to all South Africans by 2014.
“It will take a miracle to reach this target – and nearly R50bn.”
The report has been delivered to the SAHRC and will now be delivered to cabinet.