Deputy Minister Dikeledi Magadzi together with the Limpopo MEC of Education, Executive Mayor of Vhembe District Municipality and traditional leaders have vowed to revolutionise sanitation to the residents of Vhembe as they handed over two blocks of toilets that included girl-friendly toilets for school learners at Rasivhetshele Primary School in Ha-Mangilasi Village, Vhembe District.The toilets were handed over to the primary school during the commemoration event of World Toilet Day on 19 November 2022. The day is observed internationally since 2013 to inform, engage, raise awareness, and stimulate people, particularly governments, to take necessary and urgent actions to tackle the global sanitation crisis. It also highlights the need to accelerate sanitation delivery, eradicate open defaecation and ensure access to adequate sanitation. Magadzi observed the day in Limpopo Province, which has been identified as the province with the lowest access to sanitation services in the country. “Besides guarding the water resources and ensuring that people have equitable access to water, the mandate of the Department of Water and Sanitation is also to improve sanitation services to our people. We need to go to the people in rural villages and educate them about the importance of hygienic sanitation. Limpopo has been lagging behind in terms of sanitation and we therefore need to work jointly to ensure that there is improved and dignified sanitation in this province”, said Magadzi.
The message was echoed by MEC Lerule-Ramakhanya, who also bemoaned unhygienic sanitation services in Limpopo, particularly in Vhembe District. She said her department is involved in various sanitation projects in schools in Limpopo, and their goal is to eradicate unhygienic toilets like the pit latrines that still exist.“We appreciate the efforts by the Department of Water and Sanitation and other donors in prioritising this province to eradicate unsanitary forms of toilets to both our communities and in schools. Vhembe is highly affected by unhygienic sanitation, but we are determined to change this situation and revolutionise sanitation in the area. We anticipate more assistance to improve sanitation in this region”, said Lerule-Ramakhanya. The Chief Director of Sanitation at the Department of Water and Sanitation, Andre van der Walt said the Department of Water and Sanitation is concerned about lack of provision of sanitation services by municipalities. He said the Department will look into its Water Services Infrastructure Grant (WSIG) to put more effort into the provision of sanitation to communities, instead of only prioritising the provision of water to communities. The Department has also established the Provincial Sanitation Task Teams in various provinces which will influence planning and budget at the municipal level.