National Council of Provinces – Debate

Masizole Mnqasela MPP

Spokesperson on Local Government in the Western Cape

Note: This speech was made during a debate in the National Council of Provinces.

DA acknowledged the need to move with utmost speed to provide sanitation to our people to eliminate the bucket system.

The DA acknowledged the need to move with utmost speed to provide sanitation to our people to eliminate the bucker system.

The first, unbiased, national report to acknowledge the excellent status of services provided by the Western Cape Government to the people of the province, was the 2011 National Census.

According to the results of the Census, 99.1% of Western Cape residents have access to piped water, 91.1% refuse removal, 93.4% access to electricity and 89.6% have access to flush toilets.

Excellent service delivery depend on excellent governance: For the past five years, our municipalities – which deliver day-to-day services to the Western Cape residents – have doubled the number of clean audits they have achieved. The result of clean municipal audits mean that the available finances have been allocated and spent correctly. That in turn increases the ability of these municipalities to deliver services to those most in need of financial assistance.

Last year each one of the Western Cape Government’s 14 departments achieved an unqualified audit. Furthermore, according to the Management Performance Assessment Tool (MPAT) conducted on all the provinces by the President’s office, the Western Cape achieved the highest mark in every category including Governance, Strategy and Monitoring & Evaluation, Human Resources and Systems and Finance – with an average of 10. The province second in line to the Western Cape is Mpumalanga with a 7,5 average. The lowest position is shared by the Eastern Cape and North West with an average of two!

The Western Cape is by far the province that is most serious about service delivery to its people. In the Western Cape we do not simply render lip service to those we would like to vote for us – we deliver to all – where we can.

There are practical realities surrounding service delivery. While one would like to provide full flush toilets to each household, it is simply not possible given very real practical constraints.  Almost 82% of informal settlements in Cape Town are partially or fully affected by physical and other constraints, which determine the kind of sanitation that can be provided to the community.

Constraints include the following:

  • Sanitation can only be provided on the periphery of land where informal settlements are located on privately owned land. The law precludes the Province from providing services on privately owned land.
  • The high density of structures in certain informal settlements makes it physically impossible to install the necessary infrastructure required for full flush toilets. Although some residents demand sanitation, they are not always co-operative.
  • A large number of informal settlements have developed on land where the water table is very high in the rain season and therefore the installation of full flush toilets is physically impossible.

There is no other municipality in South Africa that voluntarily imposes a higher standard for access to sanitation than the City of Cape Town. 94% of all households currently receives sanitation services, while the national guideline does not have a specific ratio.

The City uses a range of different sanitation types to suit the different circumstances in the various settlements in full consultation with the concerned communities, especially as it relates to the location of such toilets.

Chemical toilets are provided to informal settlements only as a last resort when the factors, as stated above, preclude the provision of full flush toilets. Any community can request portable flush toilets (PFTs). Across informal settlements more than double the amount of full flush toilets are provided in comparison to chemical toilets – 12 000 full flush toilets to 5 800 chemical toilets.

The City of Cape Town has successfully implemented a sustainable strategy aimed at improving sanitation provision in informal settlements over the last eight years by increasing the number of toilets from 14 000 in 2006 to more than 44 500 in 2014. This winning strategy of the City to provide 100% access to adequate sanitation, is acknowledged by the national government.

In the broader Western Cape, we recognise that farmworkers are also entitled to free basic services such as electricity, sanitation and water. The Western Cape government has made excellent progress in engaging with farm owners, who have not yet complied with service delivery, to agree to the provision of these services to the workers in principle.

The same negotiations as for farmworkers have been set in motion for backyard dwellers. Providing backyarders with the necessary sanitation services pose as serious a problem. The number of backyarders – that is people who live on other people’s property in the Western Cape have increased by 8,4% a year to more than double in ten years’ time – to 55.2%.

The province is also in negotiations with people who live on land owned by churches or other institutions in order to provide services to the people who live on those properties. Should the province ignore the governing institution, it would constitute the Western Cape being guilty of encroachment and exceeding its mandate.

In 2011 there were 1 014 527 households in the Western Cape that received services. By 2012, there were 1 032 682 households which received basic services. That is an increase of 18,155 households in a year that received full water, sanitation and refuse collection.

At present the Western Cape has provided 89,6% of its population with flush toilets; ,9% with chemical toilets; ,6% with pit latrines with vents and ,6% without vents. 3,7% still rely on the bucket system and 3,1% do not have any sanitation.

That leaves almost 7% of the population at present in need of flush toilets.

The Western Cape remains the Number One province that is committed to providing ALL its residents with service delivery. It is a priority of the province to provide adequate sanitation to the people in the province in order to eliminate the bucket system.