Minister of Water and Sanitation Nomvula Mokonyane has admitted that the target of eradicating the buck system by December 2014 will not be met.
“[O]n behalf of the President, I must apologise to the people of South Africa in that we were overambitious in targeting the completion of the bucket eradication backlog by December 2014, a target that we will not meet. However, with the budgets that we have secured and the plans we have in place, we will meet the target during the 2015/16 financial year.”
Bucket Eradication Programme
Since the Bucket Eradication Programme started in September 2013, Mokonyane says the department has managed to eradicate 14 386 buckets country-wide.
“The idea that the Bucket Eradication Programme could deliver all 88 127 units by March 2014 was not based on empirical reality given that the amount available was only R650 million when over R2.6 billion was required, at a unit price of R30 000, a glaring mismatch between budget available and tendered expenditure.”
Mokonyane was outlining past challenges, current achievements and future plans of the department in a Parliamentary debate titled “MOVING WITH UTMOST SPEED TO PROVIDE WATER AND SANITATION TO OUR PEOPLE TO ELIMINATE THE BUCKET SYSTEM”.
Wastewater poorly managed
The 2013 Green Drop report indicates that apart from the Gauteng, Western Cape and KZN the waste water systems in the other provinces are very poorly managed, lack routine operation and maintenance and discharge poor quality effluent back into rivers and streams.
“This cannot be allowed to continue unabated until we reach a point where we have more Bloemhof-type incidents with the loss of life due to pollution incidents. Water is life, sanitation is dignity,” said Mokonyane.
Collaborating with stakeholders
Mokonyane emphasised the importance of collaboration with relevant stakeholders in order provide adequate water and sanitation.
“It is very evident that we will only manage the water and sanitation if this is managed in an integrated way, working together with our entities and in co-operation with the provinces and municipalities,”she said. “Through this integrated approach we will effectively be able to make an impression on this issue, particularly to reduce and as a first prize, do away with unhealthy and undignified sanitation.”
According to the minister, her department is utilising its existing budget to deal with the 10% of existing dysfunctional infrastructure and 26% of infrastructure where the provision of water is unreliable.
She believes the solution is not to throw money at the challenge, but to always ensure that where and when money is spent, it is in cognizance of the prevalent and unique needs. In this way the deployment of funds will always be for the procurement of well-researched and tested solutions customised to meet varying needs.