ATC071007: Report Free State Province Oversight visit

Water and Sanitation

REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON WATER AFFAIRS AND FORESTRY ON OVERSIGHT TO FREE STATE PROVINCE 24-26 JUNE 2007 DATED 07 NOVEMBER 2007: 

The Portfolio Committee having undertaken an oversight visit to Free State Province  from 24 June – 26 June 2007 reports as follows:

1. Introduction and Background

The Committee, as mandated by the Constitution and Rules of Parliament, undertook an oversight visit to the Free State Province from the 24-26 June 2007.  The aim of the oversight was to determine the manner in which the Bucket sanitation eradication is being realised by the Free State Provincial as per targets set by the President in his the State of the nation address in 2004. The bucket sanitation should be eradicated in December 2007, in line with the implementation of the targets as per the millennium Development Goal of halving poverty by 2015.

2. Delegation

Hon. Ms C September, (ANC) – Chairperson, Hon. Ms M Maine, (ANC), Hon. Mr J Arendse, (ANC), Hon. Mr. BG Mosala (ANC), Hon. Mr K Moonsamy, (ANC), Hon. Ms TE Lishivha, (ANC), Hon. Ms M Manana, (ANC), Hon. Ms D van de Walt, (DA), Hon. Mr H Cupido, (ACDP), Hon. Mr M Sibuyana, (IFP), Hon. Mr P Ditshetelo, (UCDP), Hon. Ms S Sigcua (UDM)

3. Overview of Free State Province 

Free State Province is a water scarce province. It is a land locked province and borders the country of Lesotho. Provinces that border the Free State province are: Northern Cape, North West, Gauteng, Mpumulanga and Kwa-Zulu Natal. It is bordered by the Orange and Vaal River. The population in Free State province is predominantly rural. 

The Free State province had the highest sanitation backlogs on the bucket sanitation eradication programme in January 2005 of about 166 000 bucket sanitation toilets. By the end June 2007, the estimated backlog will be 77 500 with a total of about 88 500 bucket sanitation toilets eradicated to date. 

The Province has since January 2007 established a Provincial Monitoring and Co-coordinating team led by the Member of the Executive Council for Local Government and Housing, MEC Mafereka, for the two sector departments of the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry and Local Government and Housing. The team meets every Monday to verify, report and take instructions on what are the key issues needing attention. Six or seven municipalities have been prioritized by the team.

Irrespective of the allocated funds to all the affected municipalities the Province still has an alleged total shortfall amounting to R350 million to properly address the bucket sanitation eradication backlog that need to be eradicated Provincially. Listed, in figure 21 below, are the statistics per Municipality.

Figure 1: List of Municipalities in Free State with bucket sanitation backlog statistics

Municipalities

Backlog at July 2006

Progress 1st quarter (Apr06-Jun06)

Progress 2nd quarter (July06-Sep06)

Progress 3rd quarter (Oct06-Dec06)

Progress 4th quarter (Jan07-Mar07

 BACKLOG APRIL 07

Bucket sanitation removed May 07

BACKLOG MAY 07

% of backlog outstanding from July 2006 

Setsoto

15000

0

350

150

1100

12200

0

12200

81%

Nketoane

9450

330

300

90

0

8147

0

8563

91%

Dihlabeng

4483

234

1170

100

1220

3669

0

3669

82%

Letsemeng

1869

0

120

180

1050

1301

0

1301

70%

Mangaung

9500

0

0

0

0

6936

0

6936

73%

Mantsopa

5618

0

0

0

683

4935

0

4935

88%

Matjhabeng

11230

1156

0

100

2851

8279

0

8279

74%

Mohokare

1831

0

294

0

0

2074

0

2074

113%

Naledi

479

0

293

15

755

233

0

233

49%

Moqhaka

3209

2580

290

60

0

1200

0

1200

37%

Metsimaholo

156

2067

0

0

0

156

0

156

100%

Mafube

1316

52

60

0

0

818

0

818

62%

Masilonyana

7290

200

100

60

1262

6012

0

6012

82%

Nala

9026

0

0

0

0

8138

0

8138

90%

Tswelopele

3627

0

80

0

145

3402

0

3402

94%

Tokologo

3718

0

0

0

800

2918

0

2918

78%

Kopanong

3244

0

0

0

275

1197

658

539

17%

Phumelela

2721

0

110

338

1838

435

0

435

16%

Mal a phofung

300

0

0

0

0

260

0

260

87%

Ngwathe

8075

2212

2601

27

0

7779

0

7779

96%

FS total

102142

8831

5768

1120

11979

80589

658

79847

78%


Mohokara Municipality is the only Municipality where a number of bucket sanitation has increased since July 2006. Kopanong Municipality is the only Municipality that has made progress in the elimination of bucket sanitation during May 2007. 78% of the Free State bucket sanitation backlog reported in July 2006, still exists. 

Municipalities have been categorised in the Free State Province according to the number of bucket sanitation toilets that exist within their areas. Category A Municipalities have the highest number of bucket sanitation backlogs, that is more than 5000. The following Municipalities fall within Category ‘A’ Municipalities: Setsoto- , Nketoane-, Matjhabeng-, Masilonyana-, Mantsopa- and Ngwathe Municipality. 

Category ‘B’ Municipalities are classified as having medium to high backlogs (less than 5000). These Municipalities are: Nala-, Mangaung-, Dihlhabeng-, Mohokare-, Tswelopele-, Tokologo- and Kopanong Municipality.

Category C Municipalities are classified as having relatively small number of buckets sanitation toilets constituting the backlog in the Municipalities. The Municipalities that are classified as category C Municipalities are: Moqhaka-, Letsimeng-, Naledi Mafube-, Phumelela-, and Maluti- A-Phofung Municipality. Listed in Figure 2 below is the type of support offered per type of Municipality.

Figure 2: Type of support offered per category of municipalities

CATEGORY

List of Municipalities

TYPE OF SUPPORT

CATEGORY “A” MUNICIPALITIES:

High backlogs (> 5000 buckets)

Substantial risk of not meeting target

Recommended take over of implementation by Province

Intensive support

Setsoto

Nketoane

Matjhabeng

Masilonyana

Mantsopa

Ngwathe

One experienced support engineer on full time basis

One support person to monitor procurement process and contract implementation

Focus on fast procurement, contractual arrangements, administrative processes

CATEGORY “B” MUNICIPALITIES

Medium to high backlogs

Specific challenges

Potential risks for delay

Nala

Mangaung

Dihlabeng

Mohokare

Tswelopele

Tokologo

Kopanong

Support from experienced technical person for two days per week per municipality

Solicit inputs from specialist technical experts as and when required

CATEGORY “C” MUNICIPALITIES

Relatively small backlogs

Well on track to meet target

Minimal support needed

Moqhaka

Letsimeng

Naledi

Mafube

Phumelela

Maluti-A-Phofung

Technical support for one or two days a week per municipality

Ensure progress remains on track

Address challenges as they occur



The challenges that the Free State Province is faced with are:
 

·                Approximately 80 000 bucket sanitation toilets should be eradicated in five to six months to meet the deadline.

 

·                High cost of technology to be implemented and delays experienced due to the insistence by the affected communities for full waterborne sanitation technology system implementation.

 

·                Municipal Infrastructure Grant funding shortages are experienced in the affected Municipalities.

 

·                Delays experienced by contractors in the registration and procurement processes for the projects currently underway.

 

·                Poor quality of materials used and performance from contracted service providers.

 

·                Contract administration is challenging, since supervision cannot be maintained all the time.

 

The Strategy embarked on by the Office of the MEC for Local Government and Housing, MEC Mafereka and Department of Water Affairs and Forestry in the Province for bucket sanitation eradication is:
 

·                Facilitate Provincial support for bucket sanitation eradication.

 

·                Provide hands-on technical support to priority Municipalities.

 

·                Co-operate and co-ordinate with national partner departments, such as the Department of Housing and Department of Water Affairs and Forestry.

 

·                Sector-wide communication on bucket sanitation eradication.

 

4. Site visits

4.1 Mangaung Municipality

10738 bucket sanitation currently exists in Mangaung Municipality. The Municipal Infrastructure grant allocated for 2007/08 is R95,4 million. A shortfall in funding required amounting to R147 million was presented. This funding is necessary for the successful eradication of buckets sanitation in the Municipality. 

The initial plan for the Municipality was to implement full waterborne sanitation. This decision was thereafter changed to low-flush sanitation technology. The current allocation (R60 million) has never been adequate given the backlog of 10 793 buckets sanitation toilets as at April 2007.

The intervention plan currently implemented utilises alternative sanitation options in areas where infrastructure for full waterborne sanitation is not available. This municipality is a priority municipality for meeting December 2007 deadline, and is thus closely monitored by the Provincial Task Team.

4.1.2 Findings

The design of the structure inspected is not user friendly for disabled, elderly, women or children. 

4.2 Setsoto Municipality

All funds available from the Municipal Infrastructure Grant for 2007/08 have been allocated for bucket sanitation eradication in the Municipality. Implementation of alternative sanitation technology is in place. The municipality has agreed to accept a loan from the Development Bank of South Africa and the Provincial Task Team will assist in fast-tracking the finalisation in sourcing funds. 3,817 bucket sanitation have been eradicated and replaced with full waterborne sanitation technology in Ficksburg. The remaining 225 flush toilets are to be completed before the end of October 2007. 

Procurement has been completed and contractors were appointed in Clocolan for 3,052 bucket sanitation and in Marquard for the 2,328 buckets sanitation that must be eradicated. Councillors informed the Committee that the community had indicated that full water-borne sanitation is what should be implemented.

4.2.2 Findings

The Waste Water Treatment Plant in Setsoto Municipality is being upgraded and refurbished to cope with the expected increase in water waste treatment once the programme of full water-borne sanitation technology is implemented. 

4.3. Matjhabeng Municipaliaty

The backlog as at July 2006 totaled 11230 bucket sanitation toilets. Currently, the bucket sanitation eradication backlog is 8279. There are sixteen active projects, twenty seven active contracts and seven sewer network contracts to be awarded. The Municipal Infrastructure Grant allocation to Matjhabeng for 2007/08 is R151,6 million. R75 million of the allocated budget is for bucket sanitation eradication programme. 

Challenges experienced are the capacity of appointed consultants and contractors and the availability of construction materials. Several steps were taken by the municipality to support the contractors and consultants. For example, the Municipality has introduced a seven day payment cycle, in order to improve the contractors’ cash-flow. The municipality has also reduced performance guarantees required by the contractors and retention monies required for purchasing toilet structures. The municipality has signed cessions with suppliers in order to assist emerging contractors obtaining materials. Innovative reporting has also been introduced, for example proof of payment for each project submitted is in an electronic format.

4.3.2 Findings

In Kutloanong, a suburb in Matjhabeng, the roll-out of the sewerage system and the building of the stands is done independently. This means that structures are built on stands, but are not connected to the sewerage system. This creates a problem because though the structure is in place, the community is still using bucket sanitation. It was also found that the houses built on the stands visited had running water, which raised the question of why was there no co-ordinated approach with the Department of Housing to ensure that the toilets are built as part of an integrated housing development.

4.4. Masilonyana Municipality

There is a shortfall of R29,5 million to eradicate the total backlog of 6012 bucket sanitation toilets in Masilonyana Municipality. The municipality has tried to obtain a loan from the Development Bank of South Africa in order to complete the municipal projects by end October 2007. There are challenges experienced with the soil quality, as there are massive rock outcrops, which require rock blasting in most of the projects to lay pipes for the sewerage system currently implemented. 

4.4.2 Findings

The soil conditions in this municipality is rocky. Rock blasting has been used to break through the sediment. The method used was communicated as safe for usage in the communities that the services are being rolled out to. However the committee expresses concern about the safety of the method used. This is slowing down the roll out of the bucket sanitation eradication programme. 

5. OBSERVATIONS

5.1 Progress made to date:

In order to ensure that the target of the bucket sanitation eradication occurs by December 2007, that a coherent strategy to ensure proceed in earnest, delays are tackled immediately and provide Provincial and National Leadership meet the deadline, a Provincial Monitoring and coordinating team consisting of all three levels of government was formed. The Province has set itself a target for completion of October 2007. This will give the province two months in order to address any challenges experienced and ensure 100% compliance by December 2007.

It appears that the classification of municipalities is incorrect. The classification of Category A, B and C municipalities is problematic. Some of the municipalities have been classified incorrectly (as per the provincially set categorisations). For example Nala and Mangaung Municipality (8138 and 6936 bucket sanitation toilets outstanding respectively) have been classified as ‘Category B’ municipalities, but have bucket backlogs greater than 5000 bucket toilets, in line with ‘Category A’ municipalities. This is a concern, since it could mean that the implementation for these municipalities that are incorrectly classified, will be disproportionate, and the targets set by the province for October 2007 and the target date of December 2007 might not be met. 

Problems encountered included that the companies that were awarded tenders to implement on behalf of Provincial Government sometimes did not have the expertise or sufficient capital to implement sanitation technology in the short period of time. This is one of the challenges the task team has addressed with innovative practices.

The roll-out of the services is complicated since the communities in which implementation is taking place, have indicated that full water-borne sanitation technology is preferred to the dry sanitation technology alternatives. The sewage system to be implemented is challenged by rocky soil conditions in which sewerage pipes are to be laid which would cause delays in achieving the target to be achieved. 


6. Conclusion

The Portfolio Committee on Water Affairs and Forestry have noted the manner in which the Provincial Department of Provincial and Local Government, the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry and all the Municipalities in the Free State have organised themselves to work towards meeting the targets set to eradicate the bucket sanitation in the formal areas in their respective areas of jurisdiction. Despite Challenges experienced with sufficient finances, skilling contractors and the soil conditions in certain areas, they were resolute that the target in December will be met. 

The Portfolio Committee would want that the target set in 2008 on water backlogs and two years thereafter set for sanitation as a whole, not be ignored whilst eradicating the bucket sanitation in the formal areas in 2007. The Committee equally notes the request for more funding in order to address the backlogs and as such as part of its oversight responsibilities will monitor the budget allocations towards eradicating the backlogs on services and realise the Millennium Development goals in this instance.

Recommendations

It is against the above that the Committee recommends the following:
 

·                The Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry should provide the Portfolio Committee with information on funding allocation towards the eradication of backlogs on water and sanitation.

 

·                The Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry should provide the Portfolio Committee with information on the process that the Department follows to impress on all municipalities to ensure that they implement policies as per the Water Act (No. 36 of 1998) and the Water Services Act (No. 108 of 1997).  This specifically relates to types sanitation services provided to communities to ensure sustainability, improvement of the dignity of women, the disabled and children.

 

·                The Portfolio Committee requests the Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry and the Minister of Provincial and Local Government together with their provincial counterparts, to have more improved structures such as the Provincial Monitoring and Co-ordinating teams to effect the implementation of the targets set on basic services.

 

·                The Portfolio Committee requests the Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry to send regular statistics on progress made in achieving the eradication of the bucket sanitation by December 2007.

 

·                The Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry as the sector leader should guide municipalities on sanitation technologies available.

 

·                The Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry should provide clarity to the Committee on the funding challenges that most municipalities raised that suggest that they do not own sufficient funds to eradicate the backlogs.

 

·                Both the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry and of Provincial and Local Government through their respective Ministers should revisit the decisions taken by the Free State Province with regards to the Provincial Water Summits so as to ensure that those decisions are implemented.

 

·                An integrated human settlement programme on rolling out services should be implemented by the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, of Provincial and Local Government and of Housing so that they avoid building houses without water and sanitation.

 

·                A continuous empowerment programme should be realised jointly with the Department of Labour, Trade and Industry and led by the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry to ensure that small business are capacitated to enable them to participate in the roll out of basic services.

 

·                The communities in the Free State have raised difficulties in accepting dry sanitation. All municipalities, should continue regular interaction with communities to allow them to be participants in the roll-out of basic services.

 

Reports to be considered

Documents

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