Govt battles to kick the bucket

2011-08-26 15:44

Cape Town - Almost a decade ago, government vowed to eradicate the so-called bucket system - the default sewage option for hundreds of thousands of poor South Africans - but the problem has not gone away.

In a written reply to a parliamentary question tabled on Friday, Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale revealed that there were still 86 443 households around the country using buckets instead of toilets.

The highest number of such households were in the Free State (38 366), followed by the Eastern Cape (28 887) and the Northern Cape (14 797).

The problem also persisted in the North West (3 503 households), the Western Cape (832) and Gauteng (58), according to a table attached to his reply.

Fifty-one municipalities were affected.

If each household included four residents, the total number of people using what former water minister Ronnie Kasrils once described as a "filthy remnant of apartheid abuse" is well over 300 000.

The actual total could be far higher; government sanitation figures refer only to those living in recognised "formal settlements".

Responsibility for the provision of sanitation services was transferred from water affairs to the department of human settlements last year.

In the early 2000s, government set the end of 2007 as the date on which the bucket system would be totally eradicated. This slipped to the end of 2008. Three years later, it persists.

In his reply, Sexwale said that in most of the affected provinces financing had been secured, or was in the process of being secured, to "upgrade" the bucket system. He did not say when this would happen.

He also said there were no "bucket systems" in KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and Mpumalanga.

  • I_Say - 2011-08-26 15:56

    Unless you have personally used this system you cannot even begin to imagine what it must be like for a pregnant lady to use this system

      POLLENYS - 2011-08-26 16:02

      They used to come with proper seats when I was young. My mother used it when she was pregnant with my youngest brother. I never heard her complain.

      So What If.. - 2011-08-26 16:27

      It probably beats using the bush! This is what they used before the bucket system, but then the 'imperialists' brought in (western) proper toilets!

      JWM24 - 2011-08-26 17:02

      Pollenys, as an experienced bucket user, please would you explain to me the difference between the "bucket system" and "long drops", or are they one and the same?

      POLLENYS - 2011-08-26 17:25

      @ JVM 24 Buckets are (were?) found in properly built toilets and were emptied once or twice weekly by truck. It then went to the town's sewerage works to be treated. The long drop is simply a pit latrine: a deep hole over which an outhouse is erected. When it fills up after X years, it was covered and a new one dug.

      Spyker May - 2011-08-26 18:47

      I for one, cannot wait for the ANC, to kick the bucket...

      JWM24 - 2011-08-26 19:01

      Thanks Pollenys - I learn something new every day! Must say though, buckets sound like they can work - as a temporary solution of course

  • POLLENYS - 2011-08-26 15:56

    Nothing wrong with a proper bucket system. We still had one when I was in St.10 and I still got my varsity degree. It also saves a lot of water in a water scarce country.

  • christine.nutter - 2011-08-26 16:01

    Yes Ronnie, and the bucket system still exists???

  • derkus - 2011-08-26 16:06

    There is a hole in the bucket

      BigMoose - 2011-08-26 17:12

      Government has its foot in the bucket.

  • Other Justin - 2011-08-26 16:17

    Shame, disgusting, they MUST sort this out ASAP! It is disgusting that people still use this horrible, unhygienic system from the past. People should not be subjected to this, COME GOVERNMENT DO YOUR JOB!

      THE.SRG - 2011-08-26 16:26

      wish the ANC would kick the bucket

      Andrea Naude - 2011-08-26 17:04

      Come on it is NOT the GOVERNMENT'S fault. People use it.

  • ocon777 - 2011-08-26 16:26

    disgraceful.....the ANCYL should come in and destroy those buckets, then there will be a sh*t storm in a teacup.....

  • Zion - 2011-08-26 16:27

    The bucket system was in common use during the 1940's to the early 1960's. It never served as a permanent form of lavatory but a temporary arrangement while the infrastructure of the town or area was under construction. It was widely used in white and black townships equally. After internal loo's were built the bucket system gradually fell away but many townships and town never had a gravity collection point and the sewerage was pumped into trucks and driven to only God knows where. Despite what Ronnie Kasrils said; today they are a remnant of a staid and stagnant government of the New South Africa.

      POLLENYS - 2011-08-26 17:19

      Rather a controlled bucket system than raw sewerage flowing in the streets due to the mismanaged and broken plants.

  • Redwine - 2011-08-26 16:37

    These are indeed very small numbers when seen in the global scheme of things. You might wish to google WTO (World Toilet Organization)I would rather they retain buckets and sort out the sewage works since we are now simply pumping raw sewage into streams and rivers etc. Providing a flush toilet is simply spreading the crap. 19th November is World Toilet Day. We'll like to raise global awareness of the struggle 2.6 billion face every day without access to proper, clean sanitation

      Redwine - 2011-08-26 16:42

      Come on people this is the population of India and China combined. The two biggest populations in the world. That means one out of four people in the world have nowhere to crap.

  • Noitol - 2011-08-26 16:48

    As long as the bucket system is properly managed there is nothing unhygienic about it -- but therein lies the problem. How often don't you enter a public toilet to find the (modern, flush-toilet) amenities vandalized and reduced to cesspool status, a filthy, stinking haven for flies and disease? Let's change the users first and then start talking about upgrading their facilities to civilized standards.

  • JWM24 - 2011-08-26 16:52

    86443 buckets? Please don't tell me that some one actually went around and counted them? The mind boggles!

      JWM24 - 2011-08-26 16:54

      Hang on Tokyo! I have just found one more - there is 86444

  • Andrea Naude - 2011-08-26 17:08

    I will stay gob-smacked and amazed in this country where the ordinary citizen DEMANDS when they can not afford basic things in life from the government and just says it is their fault. It is ridiculous - can't the masses THINK AND DO FOR THEMSELVES? NOBODY PAID FOR MY TOILET.

  • alexandra.nett - 2011-08-26 17:50

    Now you are all fighting over sh..! As for the exact number of buckets...86 443.....was that job creation in getting some person to count! How about some job creation in getting those toilets built!

  • logical007 - 2011-08-26 18:13

    I wish every member of the corrupt ANC government would KICK THE BUCKET!

      darkwing - 2011-08-26 20:08

      Just don't spill the contents.

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