National Sanitation Task Team: briefing

Water and Sanitation

19 March 2003
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Meeting Summary

A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.

Meeting report


19 March 2003

Mr J van Wyk (ANC)

Relevant documents
National Sanitation Programme Presentation by Department of Water Affairs and Forestry
Presentation by Department of Public Works on CBPWP
CMIP Presentation by Department of Provincial and Local Government
National Sanitation Task Team (NSTT) Written Answers to Questions raised at this meeting (see Appendix)

The Committee elected a new Chairperson. Mr D Maimane (ANC) proposed Mr van Wyk as chairperson and was seconded by Mr J Arendse (ANC). The Committee unanimously elected Mr van Wyk. The Committee was briefed by the National Sanitation Task Team on the progress and problems of sanitation provision in South Africa. The increased rate of delivery was highlighted, but room for improvement in the rate of delivery was also discussed. The Committee voiced strong sentiment for the total eradication of the bucket system in South Africa. The presenters could not answer questions due to time constraints and it was decided that they should reply to questions in written form, which then would be distributed to the Committee members.

Ms T Mpotulo, Chief Director: National Sanitation, in the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, informed the Committee about current sanitation provision. She said that some provinces were worse off than others, but that intervention programmes in such provinces were reaping benefits as a result of most of the budget allocation being spent already. She conceded that the delivery rate of toilets were better than before but were still behind set targets. She stressed the need for a uniform approach to the problem, keeping in mind the unique problems in each of the provinces. She said that there was a dire need to build capacity in order to run programmes and to allow business plans to be effectively drawn up in order to access funding. She said that the provision of sanitation to schools, clinics and on private farmland presented a unique set of challenges.

Mr R Kruger, National Programme Manager of the Consolidated Municipal Infrastructure Programme (CMIP), in the Department of Constitutional Development presented the primary objective of CMIP was to eradicate infrastructure backlogs at municipal level. He added that CMIP was committed to the eradication of the bucket system and had deep concern about the delivery of sanitation facilities at schools.

Mr S Simelane, Director: Community Based Public Works Programme (CBPWP), in the Department of Public Works briefed the Committee on the identification of projects and the use of local labour which included a percentage of youth, women and physically-challenged persons. He also gave examples of the amount money spent together with the amount of programmes over a period of years.

Mr Arendse commented that it was heartening to learn that progress has been made with regard to sanitation. He expressed concern about the availability of different types of toilets to communities and wanted to know if it was possible to identify the best type of toilet as communities were complaining about certain types of toilets. He asked if the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry were reimbursed for building toilets at schools and clinics from the Departments of Health and Education respectively.

Mr D Mabuza (ANC) commended the frank and precise presentations and welcomed the progress that was made with respect to the delivery of sanitation in South Africa. He expressed the need for more coordinated efforts in order to achieve more and found the lack of coordination between departments worrying.

Prof H Ngubane (IFP) asked what each project covered, who benefited and who did not benefit from them.

Mr S Phohlela (ANC) commended the improved delivery of sanitation services to South Africans. He expressed the need to involve the South African Police Services in getting rid of the bucket system in police stations. He asked why it was necessary to have a business plan in order to build toilets, as they were not income-generating objects. He said he felt that the business plan culture inhibited the possibility of communities to get involved in volunteering their services. He asked for clarification on exactly what type of toilets was being built by the CBPWP.

Mr M Sibiya (IFP) thanked the presenters for their comprehensive reports and made an appeal for Ms Mpotulo to speed up delivery.

Mr M Phala (ANC) asked Ms Mpotulo to organise the different Departments so that they should would together and articulated the need to speed up delivery to rural areas. He expressed the need for a monitoring system to monitor work that has been completed. He felt that all money should be used in a financial year.

Ms R Ndzanga (ANC) asked if there was a way in which to minimise the use of consultants as they were expensive and meant less money was available for toilets. She also asked who was responsible for projects after the consultants have left and expressed the need for the delivery of quality toilets.

Rev A Goosen (ANC) mentioned that he would want to see a speedy movement away from the bucket system to a healthier system.

Mr van Wyk asked Ms Mpotulo to explain the contradiction why it was that with 95% of the budget spent, she was 50% behind the target.

Mr Arendse suggested that, due to time constraints, the presenters should answer the questions in written form, which would then be distributed to the members.

The Committee agreed on this and the meeting was adjourned.



  1. Mr. Arendse (ANC) was pleased to see that progress was being made. He was
  2. concerned about the type of toilets being provided. He asked if it was possible to say that the types of toilets being provided are the best - long lasting for example. He said this question was based on comments from communities.

    Answer: There is not such element as the best technology. There is however the element of best technology choice and this is influenced by a variety of factors such as costs, affordability, user acceptance and convenience, payment of O&M, environmental factors, institutional factors etc. current technologies meet some and not of these requirements, hence technology choice and selection is of most importance as it contributes to overall sustainability. In short technologies have their advantages and disadvantages depending on the constraints mentioned.

  3. He also noted that there was more than 1 Dept involved in the provision of sanitation. He asked if DWAF claims money back from for example the Department of Education or Health when they put toilets into schools or clinics.
  4. Answer: No, it becomes part of CWSS Programme.

  5. With regard to sanitation on farms Mr. Arendse (ANC) asked about the implications of people being thrown off land. Does the Dept ensure that the people cannot be put off the land (in terms of the Land Tenure Act) when they put in sanitation facilities?
  6. Answer: We do have to take some risk here in the interest of providing a healthy environment for all people, but this is an aspect checked in the planning process and to some extent limited by a signed undertaking by the land owner and municipalities.

  7. He also asked if the VIP toilets that are built in areas where there is no running water are built so that they will be easy to adapt to waterborne systems once the area gets running water.
  8. Answer: VIP's are generally not upgradeable to waterborne latrines. In a few cases this may be possible where the superstructure is sound, but generally households prefer to construct new latrines when converting to waterborne. However the fact that water will be provided on-site in the future does not mean that toilets should be upgraded to waterborne. There are a number of other factors which must be considered such as reliability of a continous high level of water supply, affordability by both the household and the municipality, avialability of high-level sewage treatment works, and the economic or opportunity value of the water being supplied.

  9. He asked how the Dept plans to spend R4m in the two remaining weeks of the financial year.
  10. Answer: The stated amount was part of the funds earmarked for transfer to various DM's for implementation of approved business plans up to June 2003.

  11. Mr. Mabuza commended the presenters and welcomed the progress made. He noted the problems with having a bucket system in this day and age. He raised a concern about the different Depts. not talking to one another, and said that efforts needed to be co-ordinated.
  12. Answer: National Sanitation Task Team, Provincial Sanitation Task Team and District Sanitation Task Team are established structures which co-ordinate the National Programme.

  13. He said that it is difficult to accept they way that CMIP is being implemented at a provincial level. He noted that there is little point in putting toilets in areas where people are squatting as they will be moved.
  14. Answer: CMIP is funding new household sanitation projects up to a RDP level of service as well as funding to upgrade existing household sanitation up to a RDP level of service. The portion of funding between RDP and a higher level of services is funded by the municipality.

    Mr. van Wyk noted that the problems of institutional backlogs must be addressed.

  15. Prof Ngubane (IFP) asked Mr. Simelane if it was not possible to present the figures in his
  16. presentation a bit differently - to include the scope of the project and to understand how they are constituted. She noted that this would give a better understanding of the backlog. She also asked that the DPW and the DWAF documents be linked.

    Answer: In future presentations, attempt will be made to present the figures differently as well as linking the DPW document with DWAF's. It must be borne in mind, however, that DPW does not have an expressly sanitation programme. Apart from an initiative to fight Cholera in Nongoma-Mahlabathini areas, all the sanitation projects that have been funded by Public Works have been in the context of a broader Community Based Public Works Programme.

  17. A member said that he had been reminded in the festive season of the problem of the lack of sanitation facilities in the police stations where prisoners are still using buckets.
  18. Answer: This has not been addressed yet the focus has been on Clinic and Schools. Public Works department is responsible for putting up public infrastructure especially prisons. The matter will be raised in NSTT forum.

  19. He questioned the value of the business plans as they are difficult and he asked if they were really necessary.
  20. Answer: There is no substitute to proper planning. The Department must be able to properly monitor the implementation of a project against certain norms and standards, and the community must be fully aware of all the issues during the planning stage.

  21. He expressed concerns with the CMIP programme saying that consultants are brought in to implement plans and people on the ground are not consulted. He said that people on the ground should be able to get involved.
  22. Answer: This will create and improve the concept of ownership. However more training and guidance must be given to emerging contracts regarding project management, cash flow and planning.

  23. From Mr Simelane he would have liked to have understood what types of toilets are being provided - water borne or VIP. He said that one should remember that people must clean up the mess.
  24. Answer: Yes, CMIP provides funding to informal settlements. It is considered as and constitutional imperative to provide at least basic service to these communities.

  25. Mr. Ditshitelo (ACDP) asked how far the integrated programme approach was. He also said that the problems of no uniform approach should be addressed, and he asked if there are programme to help with the problems of a lack of capacity.
  26. Answer: The Departement of Water Affairs and Forestry supports not only the need to empower Water Services Authorities to do their work, but also find the need to align and optimize the delivery programme. This implies an integrated programme with agreed and shared goals, norms and standards, as well as process and delivery programmes.

    It is however important that such a programme be guided by good leadership and co-ordination and is supported by dedicated actions. This will require continues sector -leadership by DWAF.

  27. He noted that contractors should be encouraged, and asked if the programme was sustainable. He asked about the expenditure for eradicating the bucket system, and over what time frame the money was to be spent.
  28. Answer: The bucket eradication should be accomplished within five (5) years starting from 2002/3 financial year.




    BACKLOG (House


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  29. Mr. Sibiya (IFP) said that many of his queries were already covered but he wanted to make a few points. Firstly he thanked the presenters and congratulated the new Chair on his appointment. He asked about speeding up the delivery as the target is for 1020 and the Dept is 50% behind.

Answer: Although the programme had a slow start due to certain delays, the delivery in 2002/3 amounted to 65 000 units. An amount of approximately 130 000 units is targeted in 2003/4. The delivery programme is planned is to peak a 500 000 units per annum from 2006/7 to the end of the programme in 2010.

The slow delivery in the preceding years of the programme has been impacted largely by the following:

    • Physical access to communities and /or projects because of poor infrastructure
    • Finalisation of policies and guidelines such as farm dweller, informal settlements, bucket eradication etc.
    • Inadequate subsidy which necessitated community contributions
    • Inadequate project planning within the District Municipalities result
    • Inadequate subsidy which necessitated community contributions
    • Inadequate project planning within the District Municipalities resulted in late implementation of projects
    • Lack of understanding of the Business Plan requirements by professional service providers
    • Limited sanitation engineering and implementation skills by Implementing Agents
    • Lack of human resources (numbers and skill) within the regional offices and the DM's
    • Non-alignment of polices and guidelines across sector departments
    • Lack of communication strategy to support DM's on sanitation policy and programmes
    • Inadequate political will and buy-in at implementation

The following are some of the strategies to be or currently adopted by the department to address the identified bottlenecks and improve the rate of delivery :

    • Introduction of Strategic Intervention Programmes at the regions to assist with :
      • Identification and resolution of bottlenecks at implementation level
      • Tracking of project milestones
      • Expediting business plan preparation
      • Provide support in the acceleration of delivery processes
    • Capacity building of regional structures to support programmes managed by the DM's
    • Continuous review of appropriate technologies and their impact on the implementation e.g. subsidy levels
    • DWAF and other sector departments e.g. DPLG (CMIP) are already discussing common strategies (e.g. central monitoring & evaluation system, co-funding, focus areas, etc.) related to implementation
    • Alignment of planning process between DWAF and the DM's


  1. Mr. Phala (ANC) then asked Ms Tami Mpotumo about the fact that at the last meeting it had been agreed that there be cluster of departments involved and yet only DWAF and DPLG and PW are in the meeting - not health or Education.
  2. Answer: The Department of Education was notified on the 17 March 2003 regarding this meeting. An apology was forwarded to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee, as it was impossible to attend and to collect information from the nine provinces to make a proper presentation. Secondly this Directorate: Physical planning is still understaffed, as there is still vacant post to be filled. Thirdly the directorate is also involved with other projects in the country and officials were in Kuruman on 18th March 2003 and in Ficksburg on 19th March 2003 to monitor and attend site meetings on the Thuba Makote project funded from the poverty relief fund from National Treasury.

    It would be appreciated if at least two weeks notice were given to collect and prepare a presentation for the committee.

  3. Mr. Phala then asked about the bucket system saying that this only covers urban areas and he asked about rural areas. He then also questioned the monitoring system saying that toilets are sometimes erected but not used. He asked how the Department makes sure that there projects are used by people. He noted that there are problems in monitoring for all the departments involved in sanitation. He urged that remaining monies be spent and not rolled over.
  4. Answer: Sanitation Sector key performance indicators are being in a process to be developed in consultation with sector partners and municipalities, approximately appointment of Professional Services Providers - May 2003.

    National Sector Sanitation Task Team revised and sector partners met on the 14th April 2003 to define the best Monitor Evaluation and Reporting modes and approaches.

  5. He said that old school buildings still have no sanitation.
  6. Answer: A budget of R150 million has been allocated to Department of Provincial and Local Government this financial year and will address this through CMIP Programme using labour based construction methods that will create jobs for communities.

  7. Mrs L. Ndzanga (ANC) also thanked the Department for the presentation. She asked about the use of consultants and the projects not being finished. She said that toilets are also blown away and consultants do not do their work properly. She said that the consultants hamper the work. She asked about the business plans and said that communities can always do business plans.
  8. Answer: The Water Services Development (WSDP) role and purpose is to serve as the Water Services Authorities' Business Plan, knowledge base, strategy performance agreement, action plan and reporting mechanism. It is therefore imperative that ownership of the plan must be with the Authority and not with any consultant. With ownership by the Authority we mean both by the officials and the councils.

  9. Rev Goosen (ANC) said he would like to see a move away from the bucket systems. He asked about the amounts given by Mr. Simelane in his presentation and why the there were varying amounts for similar numbers of projects.
  10. Answer: The Department of Public Works never installed the bucket system in any of the projects it has been involved with. The reason the amounts given were varying was due to the fact that the toilets 'captured' in the presentation were attached to different projects as the DPW is not expressly about sanitation. So here we are talking toilets in a school building project, or toilet in a community market or toilets in a sports facility.

    Chief Hlaneki (ANC) noted a mistake in the presentation by DWAF which should read 2.2 million people and not 22.

  11. Mr. Van Wyk questioned why the budget was almost completely spent but they were

50% behind target. He also noted the problems of the constraints caused by a lack of capacity. He said that there was a need to use this programme to build the capacity of the community and not just build toilets. He said that even if this means changing the targets it would be worth it.


    • The allocation of funds was based on a fixed subsidy level of R1 500 per unit and a targeted number of units to be delivered.

During the appraisal of business plans and implementation, the average actual cost to implement ( Unit cost) generally increased to more than double the original estimate. This resulted in the delivery of lower than expected number of units (almost half of the target).


    • The National Sanitation Policy strikes a balance between pure contractor-based and community-based approaches to the eradication of backlog. The community-based approach adopted by DWAF generally encourages local economic development and transfer of business and technical skills to the recipient communities.


  1. He noted the big problems of unemployment and said that the money that is not spent is
  2. money that could have been spent giving people wages. And providing income. He noted that the project has the ability to create jobs.

    Answer: The total number of created from the regions for the previous financial year (from April 2002 - end February 2003) is 3 971 and from the inception of the programme to end February 2003, the total number is 13 623.

  3. He noted that CMIP focuses on infrastructure and not capacity. He also noted that CMIP

has a higher subsidy. He noted that CMIP was having a negative effect on DWAF efforts, with people wanting CMIP and not DWAF toilets.

Answers: The move is towards aligning these programme. The reached agreements are waiting high level approval.

As time was running out Mr. Arendse suggested that the department respond in writing

to these and any additional questions the members may have.


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