No flushing toilets for 1.4 million Gauteng shack dwellers

Janet Semple MPL

Spokesperson on Housing

Approximately 1.4 million people living in shacks in informal settlements or backyards across the province do not have access to flushing toilets, this according to Census 2011 data.

Gauteng has 980 565 people living in informal residences, representing approximately 19% of all households and roughly 2.4 million people in the province.

The majority, or 57%, have to rely on non-flushing toilets of various forms. This includes 3.77% who have no access to a toilet at their residence and 7.79% who still use the bucket system. For example, there are still people in Kliptown, where the historic Freedom Charter was signed, using the inhumane and degrading bucket system. A further 9.28% use ventilated pit toilets and 28.61% use pit toilets without ventilation.

It is absolutely disgraceful that large sections of the population in our province are still subject to such undignified sanitation systems.

The Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) recently told the government to immediately eradicate the bucket toilet system. The SAHRC last month also gave the government 30 days to come up with concrete solutions to a growing crisis surrounding sanitation.

Gauteng Local Government and Housing MEC Ntombi Mekgwe must urgently outline her department’s strategy to eradicate bucket toilets in Gauteng.

The MEC must also brief the Gauteng Provincial Legislature Portfolio Committee on Local Government and Housing on her department’s progress in dealing with the growing sanitation crisis and the upgrading of informal settlements.

The provincial government must urgently draw up and implement a sanitation master plan to restore the dignity of those who are still without adequate sanitation facilities.

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