Auditor-General Report: Performance Audit on Water Infrastructure
The Auditor-General briefed the Committee on the performance audit report on water infrastructure which evaluated fifteen projects. The report highlights the issues which the Committee should oversee on an ongoing basis. The following key recommendations were made to the Department of Water and Sanitation:
• DWS should develop an engagement plan to improve its coordination with other departments and entities to achieve service delivery outcomes.
• DWS should use targets to monitor the planning and implementing of activities within the value chain.
• DWS should ensure funding agreements for capital projects and budgets for operation and maintenance (O&M) activities are in place.
According to the Auditor-General, project delays, poor performance of contractors and a lack of internal capacity at municipalities to operate and manage infrastructure are among the challenges currently facing DWS. Furthermore, the lack of co-ordination of stakeholders on project delivery and the lack of value chain planning are challenges facing the Department in its co-ordination role.
Water is only delivered to the public once it “flows through the tap”, despite the project having been initiated and funded by the municipality for reticulation. As a result of inefficiencies in planning and project management, public service delivery has been compromised as projects do not reach completion with regard to delivery of water. Effective planning will prevent time lags in the approval of projects and in the delivery of water. The report contains a detailed assessment on the fifteen projects in the operation of the water supply value chain. It was noted there is a large amount of reliance by DWS on external service providers.
Members noted the need for integrated planning within DWS and in collaboration with other departments.
The Chairperson noted the Department has fallen short by R500 million and the Committee has in its endorsed the access to the funds in its Budgetary Review and Recommendations Report, but the Department should present detailed plans and budgets to qualify for access to the R500 million.
Statistics SA analysis of General Household Survey (2002-2015) & Community Survey (2016) data
Stats SA explained that the Department of Water and Sanitation has set the minimum quantity at 25 litres per person per day and the maximum cartage distance at 200 metres. The National Development Plan (NDP) aims to achieve an increase in the percentage of households with access to a functional water service from 85% in 2013 to 90% by 2019. Furthermore, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aim to achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all by 2030. In respect of South Africa, the percentage of households with access to piped or tap water in their dwellings, either off-site or on-site, was 85% in 2002 and 89% in 2015.
Inequalities in relation to access to safe water and sanitation continue to persist. Individuals at a disadvantage are those in the rural areas, the poor (quintiles 1 and 2), African and Eastern Cape, KwaZulu Natal and Limpopo residents. However, significant progress has been made in improving sanitation especially in rural provinces with large traditional settlements. From 2002 and 2015, there is a noticeable decline in the percentage of households who reported living more than 200 metres away from the outside yard toilet facility although the percentage of households did increase from 1.3% in 2014 to 6.1% in 2015.
The Committee requested the name of the areas and townships visited to determine the statistics for the distance to outside dwelling drinking source more that 500m away to assist when conducting its oversight visits. In answer to a Member's comment that service delivery is a “nightmare” for some of these communities, DWS made the point that Cabinet has said 90%, not “functional” but “reliable”, water services, is the target to be achieved by 2019. There is a difference: currently there is 85% functional, but with 65% reliability, and in some municipalities the reliability is as low as 10%. The objective of DWS is how to achieve reliability and not just new infrastructure to address the backlogs. This poses a challenge in making assessments.
Members asked if only bucket systems in formal dwellings were assessed or also bucket systems in informal settlements were included in the figures. DWS responded that the figures for bucket toilets do not reflect the informal settlements which would account for the majority. According to the report, 270 000 buckets are used in South African households however only 50 000 households in formal dwellings have been reported by the Department to use bucket toilets.
The Department noted that 40% to 50% of the 1400 Waste Water Works are not in a good state and 80% of them are medium to high risk. A programme on the total services of municipalities needs to be developed. This impacts on water quality therefore the water objectives need to be aligned to the Sustainable Development Goals.
The Chairperson indicated that the Committee had received correspondence stating that Mr Dan Mashitisho has been appointed as Director-General of the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) as of January 2017. The Chairperson said that the appointment is a “step in the right direction” allowing the Department to have a full complement of senior management leadership. The term of office of the previous Director-General was three years and he expressed the hope that the newly appointed Director-General will fulfil the full term of his contract of five years.
The Chairperson noted that the people in Langkloof are experiencing serious water and sanitation issues. He emphasised that communities faced with these realities do not have “the luxury of time” and therefore the Committee is expected to address such issues immediately.
Mr Anil Singh, Deputy Director-General: Regulation and Compliance, DWS, said that the Department is pleased to receive the reports from the Auditor-General and Stats SA.
Auditor-General Report: Water Infrastructure Performance Audit
Mr Kimi Makwetu, Auditor-General of South Africa, explained that the performance audit assessed the effectiveness and efficiency of the programmes managed in the Department. AGSA identified that the delivery of water infrastructure is of critical importance. Technical experts were selected to assist in compiling the report and emphasis was placed on areas in the Department which require improvement.
The scope of the audit focused on the planning, project management and implementation of 15 selected projects in ten district municipalities in six different provinces projects. AGSA identified that the performance audit report focused on the cycles and delivery of projects based on the level of planning, the rigour of project management and the success of implementation. The performance audit evaluated projects, which differs from a financial audit which evaluates invoices. This report aims to highlight the issues which the Committee has to oversee on an ongoing basis.
Impact of infrastructure initiatives to eradicate water backlogs
The Department has made significant progress on meeting the water backlog target however the target of eradicating water backlogs was not met.
Grant Funding for Municipalities
According to the Auditor-General, the funding of capital shortfalls by municipal grant funding requires a reassessment of funding sources, including loan funding and funding by beneficiaries. The lack of funding available was due to inadequate planning and project management.
Challenges facing the Department in a co-ordinating role
Project delays, poor performance of contractors and a lack of internal capacity at municipalities to operate and manage infrastructure are among the challenges currently facing DWS. Further, the lack of co-ordination of stakeholders on project delivery and the lack of value chain planning are examples of challenges facing the Department in its co-ordination role.
Water is only delivered to the public once it flows through the tap, despite the project having been initiated and funded by the municipality for reticulation. He explained that as a result of inefficiencies in planning and project management, public service delivery has been compromised as projects do not reach completion with regard to delivery of water. Effective planning will prevent time lags in the approval of projects and in the delivery of water. The report contains a detailed assessment on the fifteen projects with regard to the operation of the water supply value chain. Mr Makwetu also noted that there is a large amount of reliance by DWS on external service providers.
Summary of Key Findings
Mr Makwetu noted instances where double payment has been made for inefficient projects which could have been controlled through sufficient oversight.
The following challenges were identified:
• Operation, maintenance and coordination agreements not in place
• A lack of integrated planning, proper communication and coordination of institutional dependencies where the water infrastructure is built, hampered the completion of projects and delivery of water to households
Mr Makwetu explained formal agreements between DWS of Water and Sanitation and Water Service Authorities were not in place for the North West, specifically Wolmaransstad Waste Water Treatment Works.
Poor communication within the value chain was identified.
For example, at the Mhlabatshane regional water supply scheme, poor communication resulted in the incorrect placement of the electrical connections.
The following challenges were identified:
• Lack of monitoring of the condition of infrastructure as evidenced in the deterioration of existing infrastructure and lack of operations and maintenance records
• Cumulative delays resulted in the broader schemes being delivered years after the initial anticipated completion date.
• Responsibilities are funded to individuals where vacancies exist.
He emphasised that such issues can be avoided by means of sufficient oversight and monitoring.
The following regarding budget were identified:
• Lack of funding sources as well as delays resulting in financial strain at municipalities
• Lack of funding for operations and maintenance
Mr Makwetu listed examples: The Ugu municipality which was responsible for reticulation was under financial strain. The absence of co-funding agreements between the Maquassi Hills local municipality and Department of Water and Sanitation resulted in delays in the project. The Greater Mbizana project, bulk scheme phase one was operational at 31 May 2014 but the reticulation component phase two only commenced in January 2015 due to a lack of funding.
Staffing and Capacity
The following challenges were identified:
• A lack of succession planning for high level skilled staff such as engineers and scientists
• A lack of capacity to operate and maintain infrastructure at district municipalities
• Outdated recruitment and selection policy in KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape.
Supply Chain Management
The following were identified:
• Poor supplier management
• Late payments resulting in financial stress for small contractors.
Mr Makwetu indicated that at the Hlabisa rural water supply scheme in Kwazulu-Natal, delays in payments resulted in financial stress on contractors.
The following challenges with document management were identified:
• Lack of conditional assessments of infrastructure at Livuvhu scheme in Limpopo
• Lack of operations and maintenance
• Additional costs of non-compliance regarding infrastructure and coordinated planning
The maintenance plans and schedules at the Mhlabatshane regional bulk scheme in KwaZulu-Natal and the Thohoyandou Waste Water Treatment Works in Limpopo were not made available.
The following were identified:
• The applications for water licences to comply with regulations were late at the Sebokeng Waste Water Treatment Works (Gauteng), Evander Waste Water Treatment Works (Mpumalanga) and Wolmaransstad Waste Water Treatment Works (North West)
• A lack of integrated planning in the value chain.
Mr Makwetu indicated that at the Hlabisa rural bulk scheme, the secondary bulk storage was only at the planning stage whilst the other three part of the value chain was completed or nearing completion.
• DWS should develop an engagement plan to improve its coordination with other departments and entities to achieve service delivery outcomes.
• DWS should use targets to monitor the planning and implementing of activities within the value chain.
• DWS should ensure funding agreements for capital projects and budgets for O&M activities are in place.
Mr Makwetu indicated that DWS will develop an integrated plan to address funding, resource management, project implementation, coordination and compliance across the value chain. Moreover, DWS will establish a Programme Management Unit to address institutional capacity and the planning, budget, monitoring, and information management functions.
The Chairperson indicated that issues raised by the Auditor-General are not new to the Committee. The matters identified in DWS have been persistent.
The Chairperson noted the Clanwilliam Dam which was to cost approximately R2 million has escalated to R4 million over a period of two years. This is a 100% increase in the total funding amount of the project. The funding allocated to the project would be better suited to other areas of importance relating to the same infrastructure.
The Chairperson said a serious capacity challenge exists within DWS as a result of this irregular expenditure valued at R1 700 000. There was a need for integrated planning within DWS and in collaboration with other departments.
Mr Basson (DA) raised a concern about the capacity of municipalities to operate and maintain infrastructure. Most municipalities do not maintain the infrastructure therefore wasting money received from DWS. He emphasised the capacity of municipalities which is of crucial importance. He had expected a recommendation on the capacity of the water authorities to be contained in the report. He explained that municipalities with insufficient capacity receive funding from DWS, however improvements do not occur in that financial year. Thus the funding of under-capacitated municipalities in such instances, results in a waste of money.
He recommended that the report includes a recommendation to DWS to conduct an audit on all infrastructure and the capacity of the municipality. If the municipality does not have the requisite capacity that it is not in the interest of the community. He recommended that the Water Board manages the distribution of bulk water if the municipality is under-capacitated, in order to ensure the lifespan of the infrastructure. He added that projects will be terminated as a result of co-funding because municipalities do not have money to pay their service providers such as Eskom and cover the shortfall by using the equitable share and not spending money on what it was meant for.
He said the Citrusdal water treatment plant began being built seven years ago at a cost of R20 million however the project was terminated as a result of a lack of co-funding. The current cost for the completion of the project is R45 million, which eventually the government paid for.
The Committee had requested that co-funding be taken away from Madibeng, as the municipality currently does not have the capacity for co-funding. He noted that the one megalitre waste water plant in Joubertina was disconnected from the water source, and that the dirty water is being pumped into the reservoir and treated with chlorine products. The local community is deprived of clean water as a result of this. A full assessment of the capabilities of municipalities should be conducted.
He suggested that another mechanism within a district municipality is to appoint skilled individuals to assist the municipalities on rotation. Municipalities spend a large sum of money providing substantial salaries for qualified individuals.
Mr Volmink (DA) remarked that it is a challenge for public representatives to account for the performance which reflects value for money spent. He asked if the methodology of the study on the fifteen projects allows it to be generalised and is reflective of DWS as a whole, or whether the projects need to be assessed on an individual level. Was the socio-economic status of the communities considered in the inclusion criteria? He emphasised that the provision of water is centred on social justice, as poorer members of the community are disproportionally affected by water provision. He referred to the assessment that there is a lack of management and provision of funding and asked if the report identified a rational planning process whereby the budget was adequately incorporated into the plans.
He explained that the monitoring and evaluation process requires harmonisation to establish a comparable measure of the municipalities. He asked if the performance audit identified a harmonisation of monitoring and evaluation processes within DWS. He referred to the lack of human resources in DWS and asked if he performance audit identified a human resources strategy for DWS as well as basic projections outlining what is required in terms of the skills required. Water security exists in a “meshwork” of governance and that horizontal and vertical governance issues exist with regard to water provision. He asked how individuals are held accountable in the “messy meshwork” of governance, and if a plan has been developed to allow this.
He noted the recommendations made were “almost” SMART, in that they are specific, measurable, achievable and realistic however, they are untimed. He asked about the timescales for the implementation of the recommendations.
Ms M Khawula (EFF) asked about the progress made by Treasury on reinvestment of the Municipal Infrastructure Grant, especially with regard to water and sanitation.
Ms N Bilankulu (ANC) referred to the Umkanyegude municipality in which useful water pipes have been unnecessarily discarded and the pipes cost taxpayers heavily. This matter implicated the MEC, Ms Nomsa Dube-Ncube and her husband. She asked the Auditor-General what has and is being done to address this.
Ms Bilankulu explained that some of the areas that she visited in Durban do not have flushing toilet water. She encouraged the Auditor-General to visit some of the areas to engage on the issues with the Committee. Service delivery is a “nightmare” for some of these communities. She advised against declaring that there are “no issues” in the communities as site visits indicate that service delivery is not taking place and the communities live in appalling conditions. She made the recommendation that government should appoint individuals who are sufficiently qualified in order to address service delivery.
The Chairperson asked about if a conscious programme exists for the acquisition of skills and knowledge which have been lost as a result of aging technocrats.
Mr Makwetu used an example from his experience to explain that officials in the municipality often do not follow the expected protocol. Instead they are concerned with the nature of the authority which has been delegated to them.
The Clanwilliam dam was not included in the fifteen projects which were audited and he explained that the Committee is able to request a specific assessment of the dam.
The Chairperson asked about the regulations relating to cost escalation and the capping of funding.
Mr Makwetu said the Public Finance Management Act allows a leniency of 8% for funds transferred between programmes. Cost escalations require leadership oversight as there are not specific regulations which pertain to it. Sufficient oversight during the development of budgets would aid in assessing the viability of projects which then experience such cost escalations. Risks were identified that resulted from a lack of rigorous oversight. He explained that the role of the Accounting Officer in terms of the PFMA is to prevent potential irregular, fruitless and unauthorised expenditure. Leadership oversight is therefore a potential mechanism to manage cost escalations.
Mr Makwetu recommended that the Committee engages the Standing Committee on Appropriations about the maintenance of infrastructure.
AGSA is required to monitor the financial audit discipline on an annual basis. However upon the request of the Committee, AGSA may conduct a performance audit to provide insight on the identified issues.
He replied that the issue of aging technocrats is dependent on the structure of the sourcing model.
Mr Makwetu referred to the generalisability of the study and explained that the report assessed a variety of urban and rural environments in which the infrastructure is being delivered, in order to avoid biases. The issues captured in the report are generally applicable in a number of areas, however the report did not make a scientific assessment and an assessment of the socio-economic status of the communities. He suggested that individuals with the requisite skills to conduct such an assessment should be consulted.
The M&E assessment was conducted with the same approach AGSA uses to assess financial property, which includes oversight such as reports on the budget in relation to the completion of the project in order to identify areas for claims and for managing cost escalations.
Accounting officers are required to account for the long or medium-term funding which has been requested from National Treasury, as defined in the Accountability Framework. He explained that report serves the purpose of identifying issues of accountability in order to rectify them.
The role of AGSA is to assess the financials and ensure that the money being supplied to municipalities is spent appropriately to improve public service delivery.
The constituency oversight conducted will be surfaced to assess the impact in the communities. He explained that the management of water infrastructure relates to the issue of water wastage and mismanagement.
Mr Makwetu said Ms Khawula had recommended that AGSA visits Umlazi, in her capacity as a committee member. He explained that AGSA has visited some of the areas in which water infrastructure has been delivered. He said AGSA had presented this report early in the year as a catalyst for further conversations on water infrastructure.
Statistics South Africa analysis of General Household Survey 2002-2015 & Community Survey 2016 Dr Kefiloe Masiteng, Deputy Director-General: Population and Social Statistics at Stats SA, said according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the quantity of safe water required is 20 to 40 litres per person per day. In South Africa, DWS has set the minimum quantity at 25 litres per person per day, and the minimum cartage distance at 200 metres. A number of progressive water and sanitation policies and strategies have been developed since 1994 which aimed at improving the health and quality of life of the population. The data sources consulted were: Community Survey 2016; General Household Survey (GHS) 2002-2015; Causes of Death 2014
Access to Water
Dr Masiteng explained that “improved drinking water” refers to the following:
• Piped water into dwelling, yard or plot
• Public tap or standpipe
• Tubewell or borehole
• Protected dug well
• Protected spring
• Rainwater collection
“Unimproved drinking water” refers to:
• Unprotected dug well
• Unprotected spring
• Cart with small tank or drum
• Tanker truck
• Surface water (river, dam, lake, pond, stream, canal, Irrigation channel)
• Bottled water.
The National Development Plan (NDP) aims to achieve an increase in the percentage of households with access to a functional water service from 85% in 2013 to 90% by 2019. The Sustainable Development Goals aim to achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all by 2030. In South Africa, the percentage of households with access to piped or tap water in their dwellings, either off-site or on-site, was 85% in 2002 and 89% in 2015. Households with access to improved drinking water sources by province in 2015 included Western Cape (99.4%); Free State (99.3%); Northern Cape (99.1%); Gauteng (98.6%). These provinces reported almost universal access to improved drinking water sources.
Percentage of households with access to improved drinking water sources by province 2002-2015
Although the Eastern Cape had the lowest percentage of households (75,7%) with access to improved drinking water sources, the province reported the largest increase from 2002 when 60,9% of households reported accessing improved drinking water sources.
Households with access to improved drinking water sources by dwelling type 2002-2015
Dr Masiteng explained that households living in formal and informal dwellings had greater access to improved drinking water sources than households living in traditional dwellings.
Access to improved drinking water sources by the population group of the head of household
Although black Africans lagged behind other population groups in 2015, their access to improved drinking water sources increased from 86.1% in 2002 to 91.7% in 2015.
Percentage of households with access to improved drinking water sources by income quintile
Households in the two poorest income quintiles reported the lowest percentage of access to improved drinking water sources, whilst households in the wealthiest income quintile reported the highest percentage.
Households with access to improved drinking water sources per metro in 2015
Access to improved drinking water sources was greater for households living in Mangaung at 100%. Households in Buffalo City, eThekwini and Tshwane had the lowest access.
Predictors of households with access to unimproved water sources using logistics regression
Dr Masiteng explained that the odds of households in Eastern Cape (3,227), KwaZulu-Natal (2,713), Gauteng (2,748), North West (1,317), Mpumalanga (1,567) and Limpopo (1,400) accessing unimproved drinking water sources were greater than the odds of households in the Western Cape. The odds of households in rural areas, non-metro, traditional and informal dwellings were respectively 2,664, 3,549, 2,495 and 1,594 times more than the odds of households in urban areas, metros and formal dwellings.
Households in poor income quintiles were generally more likely to have access to unimproved drinking water sources than households in wealthier income quintiles.
Distance to Water Source
DWS has set the minimum cartage distance at 200 metres.
Distance to outside yard / dwelling drinking water source
Nearly three-tenths of households in KwaZulu-Natal (28.2%) that did not have access to water in the yard or dwelling lived more than 500 metres away from their drinking water source followed by households in Limpopo (16.3%). It was rural households that consistently lived more than 500 metres away.
Households living more than 500 metres away from drinking water source by District Council
Households in uMkhanyakude (38.5%), Zululand (35.6%) and OR Tambo (34.6%) had the highest percentages for living more than 500 metres away from the drinking water source.
Municipal Water Sources
Approximately one fifth of household’s main source of drinking water was supplied by municipalities.
Access to Public or Communal Taps
The following percentages were recorded for access to public or communal taps:
Northern Cape (19.2%)
North West (17.2%)
Metropolitan households who pay for municipal water
Payment for municipal water was below average in the following five municipalities:
Nelson Mandela Bay (53.7%)
The City of Johannesburg (47.3%)
Buffalo City (41.4%)
Water Quality and Interruptions
Households rating quality of water services by municipality as good by province in 2015
An inverse relationship exists between the perceived quality of services and the number of interruptions.
Households rating quality of water services by municipality as good by metro in 2015
An inverse relationship between the perceived quality of services and the number of interruptions exists. Mangaung has a significantly higher percentage of interruptions than the average for all metros.
Reasons provided by households who had water interruptions in the past twelve months
The majority said that general maintenance was the main reason for the interruptions. In Mpumalanga and Limpopo, interruptions were attributed to water delivery only occurring at fixed times.
Access to Sanitation Facilities
The National Development Plan aims to achieve an increase in the percentage of households with access to a functional sanitation service from 84% in 2013 to 90% by 2019. The Sustainable Development Goals aim to achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all, by 2030.
“Improved sanitation” refers to the following:
• Flush or pour-flush to:
• Piped sewer system
• Septic tank
• Pit latrine
• Ventilated improved pit (VIP) latrine
• Pit latrine with slab
• Composting toilet
“Unimproved sanitation” refers to:
• Flush or pour-flush to elsewhere (not to piped sewer system, septic tank or pit latrine)
• Pit latrine without slab/open pit
• Hanging toilet or hanging latrine
• Shared facilities of any type
• No facilities - bush or field
Improved Sanitation Facilities
Households with access to improved sanitation facilities by province
The majority of households in the Western Cape (93.3%) and Gauteng (91%) had access to improved sanitation facilities. However, approximately half in Limpopo (54%) and just below two-thirds of those in Mpumalanga (65.8%) had access to improved sanitation facilities.
Households with access to improved sanitation facilities by income quintile
Households in the poorest income quintile reported the lowest percentage of access to improved sanitation facilities, whilst households in the wealthier income quintile reported the highest percentage.
Households living in traditional dwellings with access to improved sanitation facilities
There was an increase of 62.2 percentage points of households living in traditional dwellings with access to improved sanitation facilities from 2002 to 2015.
Distance from Toilet Facilities
The national percentage of households who reported living more than 200 metres away from the outside yard toilet facilities increased from 1.3% in 2014 to 6.1% in 2015. Households headed by females lived further away from outside yard toilet facilities compared to households headed by males. However, overall between 2002 and 2015, there is a noticeable decline in the percentage of households who reported living more than 200 metres away from the outside yard toilet facility.
Shared Toilet Facilities, Bucket Toilet and Open Defecation
Percentage of households who shared toilet facilities by rural/urban area
Urban households (30%) were more likely to share toilet facilities than rural households (16%).
Percentage of households who shared toilet facilities, by dwelling type
More than two-thirds (68%) of households living in informal dwellings shared toilet facilities, in comparison to 19% of households living in formal dwellings and 12% of households living in traditional dwellings. The following were experienced by households sharing sanitation facilities in the six months before the survey:
• 24.7% of households were concerned by poor lighting and inadequate hygiene
• 4.8% of households complained about breakages in the municipal system
• 7.5% had blocked up toilets.
Threat to physical safety
Dr Masiteng highlighted the distance of toilet facilities being a threat to physical safety such as the instance of the rape and murder of 19 year old Sinoxolo Mafevuka, 363 steps from her home to the communal toilets.
Households using bucket toilet system by province
The Western Cape recorded the highest percentage of households using the bucket toilet system followed by Free State and the Northern Cape. Mpumalanga reported the lowest number of households using bucket toilet system followed by Limpopo and North West.
Over the period 2014 to 2015, the Free State was the only province that reflected an increase in the provision of the bucket toilet system. The other eight provinces reflected a decrease in the provision of bucket toilet system, with Gauteng province reporting zero consumer units in 2015.
Households using bucket toilet system by dwelling type
Households living in informal dwellings were more likely to be using bucket toilet system than households living in formal and traditional dwellings.
Households using bucket toilet system by District Council
4.7% of households in Nelson Mandela Bay and 4.5% of households in the City of Cape Town used the bucket toilet system. Households in Buffalo City, eThekwini and the City of Tshwane reported the lowest percentage.
“Open defecation” refers to households without any toilet facility. The Sustainable Development Goals aim to end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations, by 2030.
Households practising open defecation by dwelling-type in 2015
Nationally, nearly 4% of households’ still practice open defecation. The numbers were higher for traditional dwellings (12.1%) and informal dwellings (10.3%).
Households practising open defecation by rural/urban in 2015
The data on the number of households practising open defecation in 2015 in rural and in urban areas indicated that 8% of rural households practised open defecation as compared to 2.2% of urban households. Households in the following metropolitan areas practised open defecation:
• Buffalo City (4.1%)
• eThekwini (2.6%)
• Mangaung (2.2%)
• Nelson Mandela Bay (2.2%)
The percentages of these metropolitan areas were greater than the metro average of 1.6%.
Households in the following District Council practice open defecation:
• Amathole (15.2%)
• Chris Hani (14.9%)
• Zululand (14.7%)
• Umkhanyakude (13.5%)
• John Taolo Gaetsewe (10.6%)
Relationship between causes of death and key water and sanitation indicators at District level
Relationship between diarrhoea related deaths and key water and sanitation indicators
A significant correlation exists between the percentage of households experiencing municipal water interruptions and the practice of open defecation with the percentage of diarrhoeal related death. A statistically significant and negative moderate correlation was found between the use of improved toilet facilities and diarrhoeal related deaths. Further, districts with higher percentage of households with improved toilets, are significantly less likely to have high percentages of deaths caused by diarrhoea.
Dr Masiteng indicated inequalities in relation to access to safe water and sanitation continue to persist. Individuals at a disadvantage are those in the rural areas, the poor (quintiles 1 and 2), African and Eastern Cape, KwaZulu Natal and Limpopo residents. However, significant progress has been made in improving sanitation especially in rural provinces with large traditional settlements.
92.5% of households had access to improved drinking water sources nationally and 15% of households without water lived more than 500 metres away from the drinking water source during 2015.
Payment for and rating of municipal water as “good” declined during 2015. Furthermore, the proportion of households who reported interruptions over the 12 months before the survey increased from 23.1% to 25.4% between 2009 and 2015.
The national percentage of households with access to improved sanitation facilities increased from 62.3% in 2002 to 80% in 2015. Moreover, during 2015 6.1% of households lived more than 200 metres away from the outside yard or dwelling toilet facility.
1.2% of households reported using the bucket toilet system whilst 4% practised open defecation, nationally. The odds of households in the other eight provinces, to having access to unimproved sanitation facilities and unimproved water sources, were greater than the odds of households in the Western Cape.
The Chairperson referred to the provincial data on the number of households using bucket toilet systems which indicated that 1.2% of South African households use a bucket toilet system. The Chair asked if the data relates specifically to formal dwellings.
The Chairperson explained the recent development that DWS has fallen R500 million short and the Committee has endorsed the access to the funds, with correspondence to such effect. He explained that in terms of the Budgetary Review and Recommendations Report (BRRR), DWS is required to present detailed plans and budgets in order to qualify for access to the R500 million, as recommended by the Committee. A letter to that effect has been written to the Minister of Water and Sanitation and contained the same wording as published in the BRRR.
The Chairperson referred to use of the terminology ‘black Africans’ in the presentation and said that it is not the type of jargon which the Committee should be “derailed to”.
The Chairperson referred to the targets for the World Health Organisation (WHO) noting that the quantity of safe drinking water required is 20 to 40 litres per day, whilst in South Africa DWS has set the minimum quantity at 25 litres per person per day. Based on this, the Chair asked about the current experience in South Africa. He asked about the status of access to water in South Africa in relation to the NDP and SDGs.
Ms Khawula said that she had full confidence in the work of Statistics SA. She is still grappling with the fact that most of our black people are finding themselves using inappropriate toilet facilities and that this is an issue which engulfs most communities which are underprivileged. She said that black people, in comparison to people of other races, remain underprivileged with regard to access to water and water infrastructure. She mentioned an area where people in the community still relieve themselves in the bushes, which is a concern for her. She asked DWS what they intend to do to ensure follow-ups on the issues discussed.
Dr Volmink said that the issues facing water and sanitation are dynamic and change over time, whilst the report is a cross sectional study across time. He noted that it would have been valuable to include the trends and assess whether they have increased or decreased over time in order to make forecasts. The Committee is chasing the NDP targets and that modelling techniques exist for forecasting changes in the national percentage over time.
Dr Volmink said the way in which the information in the section on “predictors of household access to unimproved water sources” was misleading, and recommended that Stats SA reports the logistic regression in decimal points instead. Diarrhoeal disease is a crucial issue and there is great concern about the under-five deaths related to water. He asked about the other factors and the outcomes which may be considered to provide the Committee with an accurate representation of the impact of water in the country. The report only addresses municipal water interruptions and open defecation as sources of exposure. Analysis of all the exposures would assist the Committee in recommending the necessary interventions which should be implemented. He asked whether the confounding factors, especially electricity, have been considered in the analysis. Where there is access to running water and sanitation but no electricity, many households are not able to boil water and hygiene issues then arise.
Mr Basson asked about the method used to calculate the figures for households with access to improved sanitation facilities and the number of consumer units using the bucket toilet system provided by municipalities in each province. He asked if Statistics SA requested that the provinces report on the figures. According to the presentation, Gauteng province reported zero bucket toilets in 2015. However, it is known to the Committee that a large number of bucket toilets are still used in Alexandra Township. He asked if the statistics are in proportion to the specific populations of individual provinces.
Ms Bilankulu asked about the method used to collect the data for the percentages presented to the Committee. She asked if surveys were conducted from house-to-house for the entire year or if the statistics are an estimation. When the Committee compares the statistics between years, it is often difficult to understand how the final percentages and conclusions were arrived at.
She requested the name of the areas and townships visited to determine the statistics for the distance to outside dwelling drinking source per province, as well as those for households living more that 500m away from the outside dwelling drinking water source, by rural or urban area. She explained that the names will assist the Committee in conducting its oversight visits.
She referred to the information on the percentage of households with access to improved drinking water sources by income quintile, and asked Dr Masiteng what the reason was for this outcome, specifically why poor services are found in poor areas whilst good service delivery is a feature of rich areas.
Dr Masiteng replied that the definition “black African” is used for statistical disaggregation in order to quantify inequalities between different racial groups.
Dr Masiteng said that DWS is better placed to respond to question on the achievability of the targets, as they are aware of the relevant interventions which may be implemented. Statistics SA provides the data and DWS should be able to respond to questions about policy and implementation. DWS would be informed about the national targets and the report which would be submitted to the NDP as they compile it. Statistics SA would like to promote working with DWS by communicating the statistics on the ground which will then inform national policies, programmes and interventions aligned with the targets of the NDP. It is difficult for Stats SA to provide the data from the ground to the Committee. She explained that it is important to receive the figures from individuals on the ground because when the data is aggregated, the statistics do not reflect the real differences.
Dr Masiteng said that a relationship between Stats SA, the individuals on the ground as well as DWS will be greatly beneficial as millions and millions of people often are not captured in the statistics, especially in areas such as Limpopo where the data is not entirely reflective of the actual conditions.
Statistics SA would not be able to return to Mbhashe. However DWS will be able to visit and conduct an assessment. Three data sources were consulted for the study. The study was cross-sectional and based on the Community Survey which was conducted in March. The General Household Survey for 2002 to 2015 provides the trends for water over time.
Dr Masiteng thanked Mr Volmink for his recommendation on decimal points for the predictors. The focus on diarrhoeal diseases for the Committee presentation was based on its applicability as an indicator of the status of water and sanitation. Stats SA had considered the question of what disease could best be related to water and sanitation. Statistics SA is able to identify the other factors and related diseases and then assess the relevant data. There appears to an error in consistency between Statistics SA and DWS.
Dr Masiteng said that the percentages reported for the provinces, such as self-reported household information from self-administered surveys. She explained that the questions were sent to the households via the numerators and then they were collated into the report. The figures for this year are estimations.
Stats SA will be able to provide the Committee with the data on the Limpopo districts. She explained that Stats SA has attempted to present the data in aggregates and explained that if any other type of data is required, Stats SA will run the tables and provide them to the Committee as they are required.
The quintiles are used to illustrate how service delivery differs between income groups in the country. In terms of the quintiles, the first 20% would be the richest, and according to the data, service delivery moves towards the affluent income groups and therefore they do not experience challenges related to access to water and sanitation. People in the lower quintiles, the poor, do not have access to the same standard of service delivery and are more susceptible to issues related to access to water and appropriate sanitation.
Ms Bilankulu asked what the reason is for poor service delivery in poor areas and good service delivery in rich areas.
Dr Masiteng replied that disparities in service delivery for poor areas compared to rich areas reflects a developmental issue that is theoretically known, which is that “those that have continue to have, while those that do not have, continue not to have”. However the quintiles purely illustrate the identified differences. Those who continue to struggle are in the lower quintiles (40%) and often also struggle with the other basics of life. She said if the country has a national coverage of 92%, then much has been done to in order to ensure access to improved drinking water. However, a shift to profiling interventions targeted at the specific areas which do not have access to water may be necessitated. This will represent a shift from merely counting the numbers, to profiling and thereby identifying the poor communities which do not have adequate service delivery.
Dr Masiteng said that this approach will result in interventions that are targeted and supported by knowledge which is more beneficial than just counting the numbers.
Dr Isabelle Schmidt, Chief Director: Social Statistics, Statistics South Africa, explained that Stats SA currently does not measure the water limit of 25 litres a day. It is difficult to conduct a measurement of household water usage in line with the limit of 25 litres a day but Stats SA will engage with Water Affairs this year on how to use different data collection methodologies to assess the “difficult to measure” statistics related to water and sanitation.
She explained that at the 2016 United Nations World Data Forum, information was provided describing how water samples are collected during household surveys and may enhance the study being conducted.
She referred to the question of taking the measurement at a point of time, and explained that what is required is real-time report backs from the users of water, rating the quality of water and access to water infrastructure. In this instance, cell phone technology needs to be explored in order to improve household measurements and report-backs. There is a link with the Presidency’s Unit which contains the Presidential Hotline for community members to provide their feedback.
She said the data reporting that Gauteng has zero bucket toilets is not sourced from the household surveys, but from the non-financial census of municipalities. The municipality reported zero bucket toilets to Statistics South Africa. That data is then juxtaposed with the data from the General Household Survey and the Community Survey, and that Stats SA still comes across households in municipalities and households that use bucket toilets. Statistics SA receives angry calls from people in metropolitan areas who dispute the figures reported on the number of households using bucket toilets. She indicated that Stats SA is in constant communication with these people and explained that when information is self-reported, the people reporting may use a different definition for use of a bucket toilet compared to the definition used by the municipality. She said that measurement across different survey instruments is complicated, however Statistics South Africa is committed to having an engaged conversation on what improvements can be made to ensure that self-reporting reflects the reality on the ground and to ensure that municipalities report correctly.
Dr Masiteng said that Stats SA will address the issue of forecasting with the Planning Committee in the Presidency, who have the liberty to interpret the data and forecast future occurrences. She explained that the role of Statics South Africa is purely to count the numbers. She said that it would also assist to make valuable predictions.
The Deputy Director-General from DWS, Mr Anil Singh, welcomed both sets of presentations. DWS worked with the Office of the Auditor-General in compiling the report on water and sanitation. He said that DWS has concurred with the recommendations made in the Auditor-General’s report and to work with the Auditor-General to improve the plans of DWS and its entities such as the water boards.
Mr Singh explained that the priority of DWS is the Minister’s plan to achieve what DWS has termed the ‘Master Plan’. The Plan is a blueprint for the implementation and improvement of water valuation. However, the Plan is still a work in progress and he hopes that DWS will be able to present to the Committee on the progress of the Plan.
He explained that the Programme Management Unit has been established and that an acting DDG is a part of the unit which assesses the internal capacity and capability of DWS as well as the areas for improvement in monitoring, planning, budget and information management.
He explained that the cost escalation for the Clanwilliam Dam in pertinent. If the Committee deems it is prudent the AG will be able to assess the escalation. However the drivers of the escalation are in fact factors such as inflation, the increased cost of cement as well as other factors relating to the infrastructure.
He agreed with the Chairperson on setting a timeframe and welcomed the recommendation.
He referred to the audit and explained that fragmentation exists in the legislation as COGTA deals with awarding the status of municipal water services authorities to the district municipalities or local municipalities. Many district municipalities take on the challenge of being water services authorities and providers, however the local municipalities perhaps have better capacity. He said that the issue of the municipalities supporting the water boards is what the Department agreed to.
He said that the issue of sanitation and the bucket removal project being a “moving target” will be reported on to the Committee. The Chairperson is correct in indicating that the Committee is awaiting a submission about the funding. He believes that it is critical to avoid promises being deferred and timelines being extended.
He welcomed the presentation from Statistics South Africa and said that the Free Basic Water Policy with a limit of 25 litres of water per day is under review because the reality is that the composition of households differs and many of the households in South Africa are child-headed households. The Minister has instructed DWS to prioritise the review of the policy. DWS is conscious of the fact that the policy was implemented many years ago and that it requires review. The constitutional access to water is incrementally realised by DWS which has developed policies and legislation to give effect to that.
Mr Fred van Zyl, DWS Director: Macro-Planning, said that DWS and Stats SA have ongoing cooperation about the data, which is also used by DWS for planning. When the audit is conducted, there is a total South African programme of access to reliable service to everyone which needs to be audited and this macro programme includes 144 municipalities in nine provinces with six departments which have programmes and projects. There is confusion about what is being audited. He said that the report says the audit is on projects but the statement on impact is greater.
The Department has set up various targets over the last 20 years. Cabinet has said 90%, not “functional” but “reliable”, services, is the target to be achieved by 2019, and the SDG of sustainable and universal access to water by 2030. There is a difference: 85% functional, but with 65% reliability, and in some municipalities the reliability is as low as 10%. The objective of DWS is how to achieve reliability and not just new infrastructure to address the backlogs, which however poses a challenge in making an assessment.
Mr van Zyl referred to the figures which indicate that 25% of municipalities in South Africa have serious interruptions. The audit of performance should be in context, specifically whether the oversight role is being audited or the skills are being audited. Improved regulation and discipline, project management as well as coordination is required for better performance. The issues are also applicable to portfolios such as the Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements.
There has been progress however in the last eight to ten years the backlogs have not been addressed. With regard to the goals, the 85% services has been maintained however DWS wants 90% reliability and 100% coverage despite the grants exceeding a total of R14 billion per year for water supply only.
Water services is a non-stop, never-ending business. He said that the Master Plan is a delivery plan but it should also be a dedicated implementation plan with a sitting on a monthly basis.
Mr van Zyl explained that with the approval of Cabinet, DWS has established interdepartmental PMO and are in the final phases with COGTA and the other departments.
The Department was privileged to present to the Cabinet at the end of 2016, and proposed to change the delivery model. The viability and affordability of using private entities and water boards in place of dysfunctional municipalities needs to be assessed, which requires financial management and discipline.
The Chairperson asked if only formal dwellings or bucket systems in informal settlements were included in the figures.
Mr van Zyl replied that the object is for everyone in South Africa to have access to services. There are four layers in the Master Plan including universal access to sanitation. The figures for the bucket toilets do not reflect the informal settlements which would account for the majority. He said that 270 000 buckets are used in households and 50 000 households in formal dwellings have been reported by DWS. The programme that DWS is running is focused on the formal dwellings for bucket toilets, therefore a gap exists in the overall representation of sanitation in South Africa.
Mr van Zyl said 40% to 50% of the 1400 Waste Water Works are not in a good state and 80% are medium to high risk. A programme on the total services of municipalities needs to be developed. This impacts on water quality therefore the water objectives need to be aligned to the SDGs which requires the rivers to be cleaned.
The Master Plan should include the total population for water supply and all services.
Ms Tamie Mpotulo, DWS Chief Director: Sanitation, explained that different programmes on the bucket eradication currently exist. The Department found that 525 400 000 households were using in buckets in pre-1994 houses with four rooms.
The Department managed to eradicate many of the bucket toilets by providing flushing toilets. 900 bucket toilets remained after the provision of flushing toilets. A second programme in 2014 for the eradication of formal buckets is being finalised.
The Department has not undertaken the bucket eradication in informal settlements but sanitation will be provided through the provision of housing with flush toilets. The programme was meant to have started but took an extended period to be completed. Buckets in informal settlements will be eradicated through new housing programmes. Government does not provide services for suburban areas and townships where there is no availability of water.
Ms Khawula recommended collaborating efforts between Stats SA and the Departments of Health and Environment to tackle these issues by visiting the areas where people are adversely affected. She said that the gap in the transfer of information from Stats SA to DWS needs to be bridged.
Ms Khawula referred to the oversight conducted in KwaZulu Natal where there was theft of water. During oversight visits, community members shared the realities on the ground and explained that they resort to stealing water as there is no water supply.
Mr Basson referred to the presentation made by Stats SA and said that the 818 bucket toilets reported in the Western Cape comprises 0.005% of the population using bucket toilets. However, the presentation indicates that 4% are using bucket toilets, which would mean that 32 900 people are using 818 bucket toilets which is a calculation error. He suggested that the calculations relating to the number of households using bucket toilets were incorrect.
The Chairperson said that the issues raised by Ms Khawula require integrated planning especially as it relates to reticulation. The Committee is concerned with how the Auditor-General, DWS and Statistics SA are addressing these issues from a performance audit point of view, as well as from a research point of view. A combination of departments including COGTA and National Treasury is of crucial importance. He asked Mr Singh why DWS is having such difficulty if such collaboration happens.
Mr Singh replied that there are structures in national government for the budgetary process. If there is a discussion with National Treasury and the funds should be made available, DWS will utilise the funding for the finalisation of the bucket eradication process as budget cuts affect DWS across the board. He requested that DWS return to present to the Committee on funds for the bucket eradication project and the progress of the project.
Dr Masiteng noted the enquiry made by Mr Basson and said that the calculation would be revisited.
In discussing the attendance of committee members, the Chair noted that attendance at Committee meetings will affect the salary received by the members of the Committee.
The meeting was adjourned.