The department of water and sanitation has set aside R1.4 billion to address the question of sanitation in the country’s nine provinces this financial year and a huge chunk of the budget will be channelled to communities in rural areas.
The department’s revelation comes after the observance of World Toilet Day on Monday.
Departmental spokesperson Sputnik Ratau said of the total budget, R440 million had been allocated to address bulk infrastructure for sanitation, while R608 million was budgeted through the water and sanitation infrastructure grant for the bucket eradication programme.
However, two projects in Bloemfontein in the Free State stalled recently due to allegations of financial constraints faced by the department.
A resident in the area said the stalling of the projects had robbed communities of their right to dignity as people walked long distances to respond to the call of nature.
The Limpopo provincial government yesterday admitted sanitation provision was still a serious challenge.
“Apart from the Micheal Komape fiasco some five years ago, we have had several other challenges where lives were lost or put in danger due to dilapidated infrastructure,” said acting spokesperson Kenny Mathiba.
Komape drowned in a dilapidated toilet at Mahlodumela Primary school outside Polokwane in 2014.
In Hammanskraal, north of Pretoria, the Mahlangu family in Temba finds the shortage of proper sanitation unbearable.
The family said that as a result of government stalling in providing them with proper sanitation, they had to dig their own toilet which, they say, is like a ticking time bomb that could explode at any time.
Emma Mahlangu pleaded with government to work speedily, although the family’s dilemma could soon be a thing of the past.
A company contracted by the Gauteng provincial government is currently delivering 2 767 flushing toilets in the area.
“We will also install water and sewer reticulation pipelines,” said Khato Civils chief executive Mongezi Mnyani yesterday.
“We started in June and should finish by November next year.”