Bucket toilets remain a disgraceful legacy of a corrupt, uncaring government

BY Athol Trollip MPL, Mayoral candidate for Nelson Mandela Bay

Tens of thousands of people in Nelson Mandela Bay are still forced to use the undignified bucket toilet system.

In 2014 at the last count, there were 30 202 bucket toilets in use in the Bay. This is a total travesty and is a disgraceful legacy of a corrupt, uncaring government that has failed to deliver dignified sanitation to the people.

In Walmer Township alone there are more than 3000 bucket toilets - this is more than the total number of bucket toilets in use in the entire Western Cape.

In September 2014 the DA visited Walmer Township to conduct oversight on bucket toilets. We submitted a formal request for the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) to investigate this sanitation crisis, yet the Commission remains unresponsive.

The sad reality is that while the SAHRC delays, the local government in NMB has made no change in eradicating the buckets. In fact, the national Department of Water and Sanitation’s “bucket eradication programme” has been a miserable failure thus far with only 57 toilets built in the Eastern Cape last year.

Since 2011, over R65 million has been budgeted for the eradication of bucket toilets in Nelson Mandela Bay, yet to our knowledge, nothing has been spent. In fact, according to Stats SA, 35% of all bucket toilets in South Africa are still located in Nelson Mandela Bay.

During a recent visit to old age homes in PE’s Northern Areas, it distressed me to witness elderly and vulnerable citizens forced to carry full bucket toilets to disposal sites to avoid overflow. These are people living among, and handling their own human waste without any solution from government.

“Everyone has inherent dignity and the right to have their dignity respected and protected” says our Bill of Rights, yet these bucket toilet users are systemically denied this right by the NMB government of the ANC.

To the citizens of the Bay, who live with buckets as sanitation, and carry their own waste from their homes, I say that things don’t need to be this way.

There is hope for a bucketless Nelson Mandela Bay.

I am committing to working tirelessly to solve this ongoing crisis.

I will:

  • Personally hand over a new and urgent application at the Provincial SAHRC offices in East London for an immediate investigation into the bucket toilet crisis in Nelson Mandela Bay.
  • Write to the National Minister of Water and Sanitation, Nomvula Mokonyane, demanding that the bucket toilet eradication programme be expedited in the Eastern Cape. There should be particular focus on Nelson Mandela Bay so that bucket toilets be eradicated by the end of 2015, as promised.
  • Write to the Executive Mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay, Cllr Danny Jordaan, demanding that allocated sanitation budget be spent and not simply sent back to treasury as we have seen in previous years.

The real option for change, for all residents who live with bucket toilets is to vote out this uncaring ANC government.

In next year’s election, the residents of Nelson Mandela Bay can vote for the DA, and we will work immediately to replicate the good governance we deliver in the same way that the Western Cape today has the highest delivery of sanitation, water and electricity of any province.

True freedom is founded in dignity and fairness. The DA is set on winning Nelson Mandela Bay in next year’s elections so that our people’s dignity can be restored. Our people need to be nurtured by a caring government that is committed to rights-based service delivery.

The DA will build a safe, caring and inclusive Metro that is forward thinking and well run.

Pictures available here.

 October 02, 2015
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