The National Department of Human Settlements presented its sanitation targets update and action plans to address this. Access to basic sanitation was a constitutional right according to Section 24 of the Constitution. The Water Services Act No 108 of 1997 realised this right and the National Water Act No 36 of 1998 provided for the prevention of pollution of water resources. The department had sanitation areas of focus which guided them as to how to create an enabling environment for the delivery of the national sanitation programme. Another area of focus was also to implement sanitation on behalf of other sector departments, such as for schools and clinics and ensuring intra and interdepartmental coordination. The sanitation funding system was supported by the Municipal Infrastructure Grant, municipal rates, loan funding (such as the Development Bank of
The national and provincial departments of human settlement each had their own roles and responsibilities to fulfil when it came to sanitation. Key role players in sanitation were the Departments of Water Affairs, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, National Treasury, South African Association of Local Government. Even though the Department of Human Settlements was responsible for sanitation, the Department of Water Affairs was still responsible for the management of bulk waste water treatment plants as well as the regulation of effluent standards of water disposal into river systems.
The national target for the eradication of basic services backlogs including sanitation was 2014. The historical delivery rate had been insufficient to meet the 2014 target, therefore continued acceleration was needed. In 1994, the total number of households with no access to basic sanitation was 5,084,255. As at April 2011, the department had served 2,678,924 of these households with a basic sanitation service. The funding required to eradicate the historical backlog by 2014 was R28,671,544,500. However, with the current level of funding it would take 10 years to eradicate the sanitation backlog in the country. For the government to eradicate the backlog by 2015, there should be an annual allocation of R7,167,886,125 until 2014/2015, which was an increase of 239% on the current funding of R3 billion.
There were major challenges in sanitation delivery. These included the non-alignment of plans and problems with privately owned land and informal settlements. One major challenge was the process of emptying toilet pits. Pits were getting full in rural areas and municipalities did not have maintenance plans to deal with this challenge. Most municipalities were doing it on an ad hoc basis. The current practice of emptying pits did not seem acceptable and researchers needed to investigate this. There was also a challenge with faecal sludge management and disposal. Other challenges included problems with norms and standards and compliance to regulations. There was a lack of capacity with regards to financial and technical skills and there were instances where sanitation technology was inappropriate. Monitoring and evaluation had to be strengthened to avoid non-adherence to norms and standards and institutional issues had to be resolved to mobilise resources to address the funding shortfall.
Members were concerned about the numerous challenges the department faced. They wanted to know how many jobs were created by the department and how jobs could be created if there was a constant shortage of skills in the technical areas of the department. They were disappointed that the department had not yet completely moved out of the planning phase as implementation was overdue. Members asked from where the funding for school and clinic sanitation came and how much of the Municipal Infrastructure Grant allocation went to sanitation. They were interested to know what happened to the faecal sludge removed from pits. A Member saw as untrue the DHS statement that lack of water resources was a challenge to sanitation; it was more an issue of water rights than scarcity. Members were also concerned about interdepartmental coordination and the transfer of skills from the 13 engineers from
Sanitation presentation by National Department of Human Settlements
Mr Paul Chauke, Chief Director: Sanitation, National Department of Human Settlements, gave the definition of basic sanitation service: “provision of a basic sanitation facility which is easily accessible to a household, the sustainable operation of the facility, including the safe removal of human waste and wastewater from the premises where this is appropriate and necessary, and the communication of good sanitation, hygiene and related practices”. A basic sanitation facility meant “the infrastructure necessary to provide a sanitation facility which is safe, reliable, private, protected from the weather and ventilated, keeps smells to the minimum, is easy to keep clean, minimises the risk of the spread of sanitation-related diseases by facilitating control of disease-carrying flies and pests, and enables safe and appropriate treatment and/or removal of human waste and waste water in an environmentally sound manner”.
Mr Chauke gave an overview of the legislative and policy framework. Access to basic sanitation was a constitutional right according to Section 24 of the Constitution. Section 24 guaranteed everyone a right to an environment that was not harmful to their well being as well as a right to have the environment protected. Section 10 of the Constitution acknowledged that the inherent dignity of everyone should be respected and protected. The Water Services Act No 108 of 1997 ensured the realization of this right. Section 11 stipulated that every Water Services Authority had a duty to all consumers in its area of jurisdiction to progressively ensure effective, affordable, economic and sustainable access to water services. The Local Government Transition Act No 209 of 1993 referred to a Water Service Authority as “any municipality, district or rural, responsible for ensuring access to water services, such as water supply services and sanitation”. The National Water Act No 36 of 1998 provided for the prevention of pollution of water resources. Policies and strategies approved by Cabinet also directed how this would be done.
Mr Chauke explained that the strategic framework for water services was approved by Cabinet in 2003 and guided the implementation of water and sanitation. With regards to local government, in terms of Schedule 4 Part B of the Constitution, water and sanitation services limited to potable water supply systems and domestic wastewater and sewage disposal systems were the responsibilities of local government. Sanitation areas of focus were:
▪ Creating an enabling environment for the delivery of the national sanitation programme
▪ Direct intervention to municipalities with critical capacity constraints
▪ Building the capacity of the sanitation sector
▪ Supporting municipalities in the delivery of household sanitation services
▪ Special programmes (farm dweller, bucket eradication, informal settlements).
Other sanitation areas of focus were to implement sanitation on behalf of other sector departments to, for example, schools and clinics. Intra and interdepartmental coordination was needed as well as direct monitoring, reporting, and evaluation of programme implementation. Job creation through sanitation delivery was another sanitation focus area as well as implementing the health and hygiene programme.
Mr Chauke highlighted the sanitation funding systems. The Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) was allocated by National Treasury to municipalities to assist them to implement capital municipal programmes, currently amounting to R11 billion. With regards to municipal rates, some municipalities had a potential to generate their own revenue through rates collection and levies. These funds may be used to implement capital programmes including water and sanitation where a municipality was a Water Service Authority (WSA). Loan funding was also utilized to implement developmental infrastructure programmes in their respective areas, for example, from the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA). With regards to special grants, a National Treasury allocation was given to the Rural Household Infrastructure Programmes (RHIP) for a defined period to address rural sanitation and some water needs to supplement programmes implemented by municipalities under the MIG fund.
National Department of Human Settlements (NDHS) roles and responsibilities were:
- Support WSAs in the implementation of the sanitation programme from project identification, implementation, to completion phases.
- Develop policies and strategies to ensure a conducive implementation environment (and it was currently looking at a White Paper review on sanitation).
- The RHIP formed part of support to WSA’s accelerated sanitation delivery to meet government’s target to eliminate the basic service backlog by 2014.
- Coordinate all role-players mandated for the implementation of sanitation, support and monitor and evaluate progress.
- Key role players in sanitation were the Departments of Water Affairs, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, National Treasury, Health, Education, Environmental Affairs, Agriculture, South African Local Government Association, Land and Rural Development.
Provincial Departments 0f Human Settlements roles and responsibilities were:
They played an important role in sanitation delivery:
- Through the HSDG (new houses and old homes) so that every household was provided with a sanitation facility according to government priorities and Outcome 8.
- Through the Upgrading of Informal Settlements Programme (UISP).
The DWA was still responsible for the management of bulk wastewater treatment plants as well as regulations of effluent standards disposed into river systems. The Department of Health provided sanitation to health institutions, for example hospitals and clinics. The Department of Education was responsible for school sanitation and the Department of Public Works provided sanitation in public institutions for example prisons and police stations.
Mr Chauke said that the national target for the eradication of basic services backlogs including sanitation was 2014. The historical delivery rate had been insufficient to meet the 2014 target, therefore continued acceleration was needed. In 1994 the number of households with no access to basic sanitation service was 5,084,255. In April 2011 there were 2,405,331 households without access to basic sanitation services (see table in document for provincial breakdown). It should be noted in the absence of reliable delivery reporting by municipalities, the information in the Water Service National Information System (WS/NIS) had been derived from MIG expenditure information. This information was not accurate as officials in municipalities were found not to have updated the information on a regular basis.
Mr Chuake continued by giving the figures for the sanitation status quo. Households with no access to basic sanitation as at October 2001 were 4,759,184, as per the 2001 Census results. Households with no access to basic sanitation as at April 2011 were 2,405,331 as per updated information with actual project progress prior to MIG implementation. (These household figures only include sanitation delivery through MIG funding and exclude delivery through any municipal funding or other resources. Should this be considered, delivery could increase).
Mr Chauke gave the funding requirements to eradicate the historical backlog by 2014 by giving estimated funding required to eradicate both the rural and urban sanitation, water supply to support urban sanitation based on standard cost estimates and likely technology to be used for different types of settlements. The total funding required to eradicate the historic backlog in rural and urban was R28,671,544,500. This would take the department a total of 10 years to fulfil the backlog if funding continued as it was. For government to eradicate the backlog by 2015, there should be an annual allocation of R7,167,886,125 until 2014/2015, which was an increase of 239% on current funding (see tables).
Mr Chauke noted that with regards to meeting targets versus capacity, without well capacitated municipalities, which were at the coal face of service delivery, the mandate could not be achieved. Government would not be able to achieve its developmental objective of a better life for all. There was growing concern about government focusing on meeting target with less attention being paid to maintaining the existing infrastructure. If this problem was kept unattended, it may lead to unsustainable infrastructure and moving targets. People who had originally been served would be left without services when infrastructure became dysfunctional or when pits were full.
Mr Chauke presented the challenges in sanitation delivery:
▪ Non-alignment of plans and poor integrated planning. Provision of settlements as against the availability of bulk infrastructure was a challenge as there were instances where low-cost housing was provided and residents were provided with full waterborne facilities. However, if the municipality had not planned for bulk infrastructure and supply, residents found themselves with toilets which could not flush. This was due to the non-alignment of plans. Other instances were when waste water treatment plants did not have the capacity to deal with the load of the settlements that were established in the area. This impacted negatively on the health of the residents.
▪ Privately owned land and farm areas. In certain areas farm workers did not have access to a basic level of sanitation and health and hygiene education and awareness. Some municipalities within which the farm areas fell, did not take an interest to ensure that farm workers had access to sanitation services. Another challenge was informal settlements. Normally temporary sanitation technologies in the form of chemical toilets were often costly to municipalities to maintain. People experienced a lack of dignity as it was not socially acceptable because toilets were mostly shared. This led to the encouragement of social ills as shared toilets were not safe for women and children, especially at night. Chemicals used were unsanitary to some women.
Sanitation function challenges were:
▪ Pit emptying. Pits were getting full in rural areas and municipalities needed to have maintenance plans to deal with this challenge. Municipalities removed pits but the time they took to dig new pits was long and in the meantime those families were without toilets for a while, and then fell back onto the backlog list. The same happened in schools. Most municipalities were doing it on an ad hoc basis. The current practice of emptying pits seemed unacceptable and researchers needed to investigate this. There was also a challenge with faecal sludge management and disposal.
Sanitation challenges included:
▪ Norms and standards and compliance to regulations. If the norms and standards were not complied with when constructing sanitation facilities, the lifespan of the toilet facilities were adversely affected. Some municipalities were implementing projects which were not according to the approved conditions of the MIG technical reports.
▪ Lack of capacity in financial and technical skills. engineers and other technical experts were not attracted to rural municipalities and this impacted negatively on the quality and rate of delivering of basic services. Poorly qualified financial managers in the municipalities effected the financial management and risk management of the municipality. Poorly developed financial recovery plans were in place which was unacceptable.
▪ Provision of Free Basic Sanitation (FBS). The provision of FBS was a challenge to poor municipalities due to financial constraints. They did not have a revenue base and their equitable share was normally used for other functions. There was not much one could do as this was an unconditional grant. Municipalities used it as they want. Water scarcity was an issue as SA was a water-scarce country.
▪ Appropriate technology. There were instances where technologies were failing because they were not appropriate. Some municipalities implemented full waterborne technologies in settlements where it was inappropriate due to:
- Not affordable and viable to the municipality or provider
- Not affordable the end-user in terms of ability to pay the tariffs associated with that level of service
- Technical feasibility
- Availability of capacity in wastewater treatment works.
▪ Monitoring and evaluation was problematic. This area should have been strengthened to avoid non-adherence to norms and standards. Non-compliance to sanitation norms and standards needed serious enforcements.
▪ Institutional issues. There was a need to improve business processes which included supply chain management processes in order to expedite service delivery. There was a requirement to mobilise resources, implement capacity and address the funding shortfalls.
Mr Thabane Zulu, Director General: National Department of Human Settlements said that the shortage of engineers in the department was being addressed. The department had visited
Ms M Themba (ANC,
Mr Chauke replied that approximately 13 000 jobs were created through the department in the past year. He did not have the exact figure but would forward this information to the Committee.
Mr M Jacobs (ANC,
Mr Chauke replied that schools and clinics received their own capital funding for sanitation from Treasury.
Mr H Groenewald (ANC,
Mr Chauke replied that the sludge was taken to a water treatment plant and treated with water cleansing agents. After this process the water was released back to rivers. The treatment standards were very high to ensure that the water was not hazardous in any manner.
Mr Groenewald said that he hoped that these standards were indeed high to ensure the health and safety of people using this water.
The Chairperson noted that 50% of sanitation targets since 1994 were met yet this progress could not be seen due to the huge backlog growing daily. He thought that the idea of
Ms Themba asked whether all departments involved in sanitation such as Health, Education and Public Works had a coordinated structure to make sure that challenges were taken care of.
Mr Chauke replied that this was an interdepartmental problem but it was being taken care of by sanitation task team meetings which involved all departments. The review of the White Paper was also being driven by most departments.
The Chairperson asked which types of mechanisms were in place to address the transfer of skills and whether the department offered bursaries and scholarships to young people.
Mr Chauke replied that the department did indeed offer engineering bursaries to students and it made space in the department for interns as well.
Mr Groenewald asked what informed the pit toilet structure as it seemed that provision was not made for the maintenance of these pits.
Mr Chauke replied that the Division of Revenue Act (DORA) made provision for capital funding for infrastructure but not for maintenance. The department was having discussions with Treasury to change this with regards to sanitation.
The Chairperson asked if the R11 billion MIG allocation expenditure was being monitored.
Mr Chauke explained that of the R11 billion only R2 billion was allocated to water services and sanitation. The rest of the funds were used for the maintenance of streets, cemeteries, parks and other public use facilities.
The Director General, Mr Thabane Zulu, concluded that the project management unit of the department was responsible for all implementation. He admitted that there was not sufficient monitoring done at the moment mostly because of the numerous departments involved with providing adequate sanitation to the different sectors. Detailed information would be forwarded to the Committee by the following week to clear up issues of concern which the department had not included in the presentation.
The meeting was adjourned.
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