Johannesburg - Revelations that the ANC-run Moqhaka municipality in the Free State built 1600 open toilets for the poor, has broken President Jacob Zuma's heart, the Sunday Times reported.
In an interview with the newspaper after campaigning in the Eastern Cape on Friday, Zuma said he also "now understands" why communities protest.
"Of all the stories pertaining to service delivery that I came across during campaigning, the open toilets saga broke my heart," Zuma said.
He said in the past three months, during door-to-door electioneering in some of the countries poorest communities, exposed an ugly side of South Africa. He said government officials did not mention this in their service delivery reports to him. He added that some of the shocking conditions people were living in opened his eyes.
"I have seen the coalface of service delivery. The report from officials sometimes may not give the same feeling that you get when you come into contact with the real conditions people live in.
"I can now understand why some communities protest. A lot has been done to deliver services, but clearly there are serious challenges and backlogs," he said.
Zuma said he was in discussions with Minister of Monitoring and Evaluation, Collins Chabane, about his department taking on the role of policing delivery at a municipal level, the report said.