South Africa is actively participating in the 7th Africa Sanitation Conference, with Minister Senzo Mchunu leading a delegation from the Water and Sanitation Department. The event, held in Swakopmund, Namibia, from November 6 to 11, is organised by the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) and the Commission of the African Union (AU). Attendees include Ministers, Heads of Delegations, civil servants, academics, civil society, development partners, and the private sector.Key department figures, Risimati Mathye and Lindiwe Lusenga, are heading specialized teams engaged in technical sessions covering various sanitation and hygiene themes. Minister Mchunu is slated to participate in a high-level Ministerial Dialogue on November 10, where recommendations and decisions arising from the conference will be discussed with other AMCOW member States. Minister Mchunu praised South Africa’s collaborative efforts in addressing sanitation challenges, involving stakeholders such as science organizations and the private sector. He emphasized the importance of the AfricaSan conference in addressing sanitation issues across the continent, highlighting its significance for human dignity and overall well-being. The conference, themed “Strengthening Systems and Partnerships for Accelerated Action on Safely Managed Sanitation and Hygiene,” originated in South Africa in 2002. It serves as a platform for technical and political dialogue, fostering knowledge-sharing to tackle sanitation and hygiene challenges in Africa.
Since the 4th AfricaSan in Dakar in 2015, Ministers and Heads of Delegations committed to achieving universal access to sustainable sanitation and hygiene services, eliminating open defecation by 2030. The Ngor commitments align closely with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) targeting global access to safely managed sanitation and hygiene by 2030.South Africa’s Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) reported significant progress in fulfilling two of the Ngor commitments. Commitment 2, focused on garnering political support and resources for sanitation and hygiene, saw successful implementation through strategic plans influencing a paradigm shift in sanitation management. These plans include the National Development Plan (NDP), National Water and Sanitation Master Plan (NWSMP), National Sanitation Policy, and the Industrial Action Policy Plan. In addition, Commitment 7, aiming to eliminate untreated waste and promote productive use, witnessed the revival of the Green Drop Certification Programme and the development of a National Faecal Sludge Management Strategy by the DWS.