Mkhondo residents forced to dig own pit toilets to alleviate sanitation problems

By Tarnia Baker MP, Political Head Mkhondo Constituency:

The DA is shocked and disappointed to have discovered during a recent visit to residents of Mkhondo Local Municipality, that some residents are forced to dig their own pit toilets because RDP houses built as far back as 2010 have no running water and no sanitation.

The DA has today written an urgent letter to the Minister of Water and Sanitation, Nomvula Mokonyane, to deploy interim sanitation to Mkhondo as soon as possible so that the people of Mkhondo may see some dignity restored to their lives. In the immediate, Minister Mokonyane must deliver portable sanitation and portable water supplies, and then must implement permanent sanitation in the area without delay.

How is it possible that RDP houses are constructed with kitchens, bathrooms and toilets, with taps and yet no running water?

Clearly the National Department of Water and Sanitation’s slogan: “Water is life, sanitation is Dignity” is nothing more than lip-service to a shameful state of sanitation on the ground.

As per the Auditor General’s (AG) Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA) 2013/14 Audit Report:

  • For the past 5 Audits, this municipality has received 4 Disclaimer opinions,
  • Mkhondo Municipality also struggled with proper record keeping and a lack of skills to perform daily and monthly disciplines,
  • Due to a weak control environment, this municipality could not account for progress on the service delivery objectives included in their Service Delivery and Budget Implementation Plan (SDBIP), as they were unable to submit an Annual Performance Review (APR) for audit purposes,
  • Because Mkhondo did not submit an APR, the AG could not evaluate whether Mkhondo achieved any of its targets.

More damning yet, are the findings of the AG earlier this week that the national budget of R1,2 billion allocated for the provision of water and sanitation for the period 2010/2013 was grossly underspent, with only R501 million being used.

The underspending clearly indicates that the continued existence of these pit toilets in municipalities like Mkhondo is definitely not due to financial constraints, but rather those of mismanagement and the lack of an ability to deliver. It appears as if the department, and its municipal implementers are hopelessly unable to deliver the dignified sanitation that our people deserve.

The dignity of this and other communities who still use pit toilets must be restored.