Bucket toilets remain a challenge for Northern Cape residents

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The latest municipal census data by Statistics South Africa shows that while there was a slight drop in the number of bucket toilets in the country between 2018 and 2019, more than 42 000 of these amenities are still in use nationally. The Northern Cape is among the provinces still plagued by inadequate sanitation and high numbers of bucket toilets.

Kimberly resident Simon Ngalibomvu says access to water and sanitation remains a huge challenge stating that a single toilet in the area is shared by over 50 people. This raises concerns about safety as well as the possibility of spreading infections due to the unsanitary conditions.

“It has been more than 2 years now. The municipality is not collecting our buckets and we don’t know what the reason for that is” continues Simon, who adds that some residents have had to resort to making use of the open veld or digging holes in place of using the inadequate toilet amenities.

Department says efforts to eradicate bucket system are underway

Spokesperson for the Department of Water and Sanitation, Sputnik Ratau, says the department is speeding up its programme to eradicate bucket toilets in the province.

“The number of bucket toilets still to be eradicated in both the free state and the northern cape is between 12 000 and 14 000 in total, and that is how many we are looking to eradicate in this financial year. the department is intervening by working together with municipalities and ensuring that water pipes will be supplied” added Ratau.

This undertaking by the Department comes amid a status report on reservoirs which it released earlier in May that noted a reduction in water levels in the Northern Cape from 121.8% to 112.1% as well as the province under-performing on the Green Drop Certification audit report which in April identified both the Northern Cape and Free State provinces’ municipal wastewater treatment systems as being in a critical state. The Green Drop Certification is an incentive-based regulation programme which aims to improve the quality of water services across the country.