Toilet system a pressing matter - Sexwale

2012-09-14 22:15

Cape Town - Sanitation will take centre stage in government's infrastructure build programme, Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale told Parliament on Friday.

Tabling a summary of the long-awaited report of the Ministerial Sanitation Task Team (MSST) to the portfolio committee on human settlements, Sexwale said the document revealed the neglect government had subjected its people to since 1994.

According to the report, the sanitation backlog in the country currently stood at 2,5 million toilets.

The task team, set up by Sexwale last year following reports of toilet woes in Western Cape, the Free State and Mpumalanga, said the backlog had been halved from five million in 1994.

"It's a critical basic need, the first line of dignity of any human being that we take for granted as we open taps in our houses and as you flush toilets.

"We do this so easily, without realising other people have to hide behind a tree or stand out in the open," Sexwale said.


Provincial visits by members of the MSST showed the ratio of households to toilets in municipalities in all nine provinces.

There was one toilet for every 100 households in the Western Cape following a visit to seven municipalities in the province, the biggest being the City of Cape Town.

In Gauteng, it was established that on average one toilet was shared by 10 households, after visits to three metros, two district municipalities and seven local councils.

The MSST proposed various actions required to solve the toilet problem.

These included the need for better co-ordination and a national plan to tackle the problem.

Sexwale told MPs that a "Water and Sanitation Master Plan" was being developed by the Presidential Infrastructure Co-ordinating Commission.

"The first thing for common people, the first infrastructure before a road and airport and all these things, even before a house, is a toilet."

The minister re-iterated that Cabinet had bought into a paradigm shift, by including sanitation in the major infrastructure projects to be rolled out over the next few years.

"It [sanitation] is Strategic Infrastructure Project number 18. It's going to require more money than most other projects. The billions that are required for this are staggering."

Priorities questioned

Sexwale later questioned government's budget priorities since 1994, including the money spent on the arms deal.

He said social unrest would continue if money was spent unwisely and basic services were not provided.

"These are the symptoms of what insurrections are made of."

He said the bucket system, which was still very evident in South Africa, needed to be addressed immediately, or this could spill over into unrest.

"The Marikanas will repeat itself over and over in this country, until we crumble, if you don't address that first line... sanitation with clean running water... now that's dignity."

The full sanitation report would be made public after being tabled to Cabinet next week.

Sexwale dedicated the report to the young people of Makaza in Khayelitsha and the women of Moqhaka in the Free State, who had to make use of un-enclosed toilets. The "toilet-saga", as it became known, made national headlines after communities protested the indignity they suffered by having not being afforded privacy while using toilets.

  • godfrey.welman - 2012-09-14 22:36

    NO TENDERS ....see this as an oppotunity to reduce unemployment. Allocate money to the Municipalities and hold them accountable for building and maintaining it.

      fussed.anderson - 2012-09-15 09:49

      They are stalling on the toilet system cause they dont have enough water, That has also going down the toilet

      beverly.young3 - 2012-09-15 21:15

      Reminds me of an earlier story, somewhere in the Free State, the muncipality awarded a plumber an R11 million contract, 5 or 7 years ago to fix the sewage system. He has been unable to fix this and all the water in that region is now polluted....eish... "they are looking into the matter" eina! I say it again, Africa is not for sissies

  • bernpm - 2012-09-14 22:42

    toilet backlog in 1994 = 5.000.000, toilet backlog 20 (say for ease of calculation) years later = 2.500.000 toilets. national toilet building productivity (@200 working days per annum): 12.500 toilets per working day or some 1400 toilets per province. With unemployment at an all time high, it should not be too difficult to increase the the daily toilet production in all provinces. Specially if is the root cause of social unrest which is more costly than building a few toilets.

      angela.salloway - 2012-09-15 07:43

      It isn't just putting in toilets that will create work but the builing of sewage systems to take up the extra effluent. Lets get on with it!!

      enlightened.bowman - 2012-09-15 16:53

      I think the main issue here is that they have either not thought of it or were ignorant of the problem. Right now, they simply are unable to organise the logistics to sort out the problem

      beverly.young3 - 2012-09-15 21:18

      The root cause is inefficiency and the inability to carry out designated jobs. Who remembers the gazillion toilets built in the middle of nowhere outside Plett? It has taken at least 20 years to resolve this issue.

  • sally.lewitt - 2012-09-14 22:46

    Min. Tokyo Sexwale, PLEASE mean what you say! We really need someone in government to keep their word and bring TRUST back for all!

  • - 2012-09-14 23:15

    a "pressing matter" LOL

      erich.goosen - 2012-09-15 08:53

      Pressing indeed, there is where you get 'depressed'.

      bow.hunter.1884 - 2012-10-18 15:10

      Gotta love it

  • lacrimosewolf - 2012-09-14 23:16

    And hundreds of thousands spent on systems that only last 2 years because, AGAIN, you're trying to address the wrong problem.

  • pisciotta - 2012-09-15 00:04

    If anyone didn't think SA was a 4th world country - just look at what makes the front page of the News: TOILETS!

      antin.herrinck - 2012-09-15 00:30

      Right, only in SA will "Toilets" become an elective conference-issue. The road to Mangaung is to be strewn with toilets. First they thought to make political mint out of the (DA-run) WC's less than perfect ablution facilities. Then the ANC was found to be a bunch of hypocritical fools, shooting themselves in the foot when it was found out that their own constituencies were far worse of, in many places. And now our "Housing Minister" chooses to become a "Toilet Minister". He thinks: "the promise of a nice toilet will make them love me; a happy eliminator is a happy voter". But of course this has nothing to do with his ambitions of being the boss of all SA and all its toilets....

      pisciotta - 2012-09-15 00:50

      I'm trying to think of an appropriate caption to place under the article's photo. Why is it that SA always show a fist when other nations show an open hand? Constipation?

      juan.prinsloo.750 - 2012-09-15 01:52

      It's because they are still struggling. Struggling while running a country into the ground, struggling not to steal, struggling to organise a pee-up in a brewery, struggling to install a toilet.

  • sharon.erwin.96 - 2012-09-15 00:07

    "Sanitation will take centre stage in government's infrastructure build programme" What? Are they planning to replace the seats in parliament too?

      wesley.nel.5 - 2012-09-15 19:03

      No it is all the sh?t they are talking

  • antin.herrinck - 2012-09-15 00:10

    Outstanding pic. If it's such a "pressing matter" for him, may I suggest some laxatives for Mr Sexwale?

      blip.noodlum - 2012-09-15 00:36

      Never give any whale any laxative.

      blip.noodlum - 2012-09-15 04:48

      Well he looks like a primate because he IS a primate. So too is everyone who can read this message. (Yes, humans are indeed primates...)

      kaapse.skollie.7 - 2012-09-15 07:59

      Primate? The man is a multi-millionaire mining magnate who knows how to run a business profitably - unlike his ANC comrades. He didn't create the toilet problem. And he hasn't been in the job long enough to judge.

      fussed.anderson - 2012-09-15 09:44

      No he's not,He's a gloryfied HOD for the anc

  • Erna - 2012-09-15 06:14

    That finger waving guy was a fascist with his stupid Total Strategy. It's a pity I don't believe in hell

  • - 2012-09-15 06:42

    they all the same....loads of words no action. We have been hearing the toilet story for years now....

  • andrew.mackie.90 - 2012-09-15 07:07

    Hopefully the necessary waste works for the disposal of sewage is also included as presently most rural municipalities have disfunctional systems. It is all very well installing toilets but without the means to handle the waste it is fruitless. Lets hope they have taken this need into account.

      kaapse.skollie.7 - 2012-09-15 07:47

      Good point.

      beverly.young3 - 2012-09-15 21:24

      The problwem is though, there are solutions. IN Italy, in the rural areas, they have installed thousands of toilet facilities, where in the waste goes into tanks and the 'hard matter' cleansed, it becomes fertiliser, and the water, into 'grey water' which is used in farming. No one will listen. It will "put people out of work, because it does not need werkers or maintenance".

  • douglas.reid.921 - 2012-09-15 07:37

    Get rid of the 10 million illegal immigrants, problem solved. Ever driven past a squatter camp? Stench.\r\nWhy were there no squatter camps 20 years ago and now they are everywhere? ANC must be the richest party in the world, cadres the richest politicians. When a 30 year old idiot can amass R50 million cause he is part of the ANC then something is wrong. R600 billion lost to corruption. Easy to see where its gone. That could buy one hell of a lot of toilets.

      kaapse.skollie.7 - 2012-09-15 07:51

      Absolutely. Rampant ANC corruption and trillions of rands that anglo american, lonmin and de beers pump into the UK every year. South africans should be as rich the arabs, but instead we don't even have toilets. Selfish greedy bastards. Makes me sick.

  • grant.montgomery.5074 - 2012-09-15 07:48

    What we need is more submarines not more toilets. Our ancestors didn't have toilets yet you don't hear them complaining. Sexwale said toilets are more important than housing. Strange one that, how does one sleep,cook etc in a toilet? Surely the answer is to build houses with toilets in them. The heading should have been - 'Toilet system a pissing matter.

  • croix.mactee - 2012-09-15 08:16

    The best "paradigm shift" you fatgats (sic) can make, is to crawl down those very same toilets and ask the poor to flush you away ...... One can see there is an election or some such event afoot, neh?

  • siphom.mngadi.7 - 2012-09-15 08:24

    Sexwale y u kp on whinning about toilets heee!!? What you should do better send your people there and re buid those toilets mmmmh election is coming watch out

  • hennie.deruyter - 2012-09-15 09:24

    The provision of toilets will mean a adequate water supply, a working sewerage system which can handle the required demand and a good road system to gain access to to pipes and infrastructure. So it ultimately boils down to providing a large and working infrastructure before the toilets will work. Sewerage plants also require a reliable electricity supply. You cant have sewerage in rivers and then still expect to have enough clean water to flush all these toilets. So yes, we do need these toilets. It will solve many problems.

      keith.roberts.98434 - 2012-09-16 02:19

      There are good waterless toilets available; they would solve the very expensive problem of the infrastructure needed to provide waterborne sewerage. However this would be seen as inferior and racist.

  • makarapakaplan - 2012-09-15 09:47

    I'm tired of promises, provide the infrastructure first and then have a big mouth after its done!

  • tony.naidoo - 2012-09-15 12:18


  • Tim Elliott - 2012-09-15 13:23

    And Tokyo fancies himself as a Presidential candidate?It gets worse by the minute.

  • enlightened.bowman - 2012-09-15 17:07

    How long has this dude been minister of human settlements? And he realises now that there are no loos in SA? I have always wndered how he got his hands on the mines and whatever else he is involved in but the first palpable post he gets...Nothing happens? Guess that's Africa

  • enlightened.bowman - 2012-09-15 17:08

    PJP, Ill tell whi the closed fist. If they open the hand, they fall out of the tree

  • Shaun Mawanda Faniso - 2012-09-16 08:11

    wats the point if u have a toilet if u dont hve anything to eat so u can make number 2

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