Govt makes good on plan to eradicate bucket toilets

Gauteng has made significant strides in the eradication of the unhygienic and inhumane bucket sanitation system, local government provincial minister Qedaeni Mahlangu said on Wednesday.

Mahlangu announced the achievement during a bucket eradication roadshow in the Slovoville informal settlement in Nigel, where 1 021 buckets were replaced with ventilated improved pit latrines (VIP).

In Gauteng, 12 323 buckets were replaced with either flush toilets or VIPs, depending on whether the area had been formally proclaimed a township or not, she said in a statement.

The bucket eradication roadshow formed part of an imbizo (meeting) which ended on Sunday.

Mahlangu said the decision to remove all bucket toilets was taken during the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in 2001.

“It was during the WSSD where nations took a decision to eradicate all the buckets worldwide. Thereafter, here in South Africa, under the leadership of President Thabo Mbeki, we undertook to eradicate all the buckets in all identified areas,” she said.

She said progress had been made in Masetjhaba View in Ekurhuleni, the Merafong local municipality, Mogale City, Bekkersdal in Westonaria and Evaton in Emfuleni.

She said in areas such as Evaton, Rietvallei, Masetjhaba and Kokosi, flush toilets had been installed since these were fully-fledged townships registered with the Township Board.

“We are doing things step-by-step and therefore the government will attend to other needs such as housing, electricity and installation of water-borne toilets in future,” she said.

Among throngs of residents who had gathered in the marquee was Albert Vilakazi, one of those who had protested against the bucket system by marching to the council and spilling waste from the buckets.

“I am happy that after a long struggle our government has finally made good of its promise by providing us with healthy sanitation.

“Following the installation of the VIPs our lives have changed for the better. Now all I need is a house of my own and I believe that the government will deliver on its promises, like they did with the new toilets,” Vilakazi said.

He urged other residents to keep their toilets clean.

“It does not matter whether it’s a water-borne flush toilet or VIP. We must maintain them and ensure that we use chemicals so that we live in a healthy environment.” - Sapa

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