“Government is committed to eradicating buckets to restore the dignity of the people. Bucket eradication work has started in the formal areas,” she said in a statement.
Sauls-August was responding to a report by Statistics SA, released last month, which found that the number of Eastern Cape households using the system increased from 38,606 to 52,732 in the year starting June 2012.
“The department is studying the contents of the report to ascertain where the increase has occurred in the province,” she said.
“It is likely that this increase is in the informal areas, not the formal areas which have already been counted and budgeted for.”
She said the number of bucket toilets in formal areas in the province stood at 2827.
The first phase of the eradication programme focused on the formal areas, and the second would focus on informal areas, where figures still needed to be quantified.
The programme started in Grahamstown last year.
“Construction is also under way in Makana, Paterson, Baviaans, Steynsburg, Indwe, Jansenville, Somerset and Ndlambe,” Sauls-August said.
“Nurcha [the National Urban Reconstruction and Housing Agency] has been commissioned to provide programme management services for the bucket eradication programme in the Eastern Cape.
“As such, an amount [of] R94,060,000 has been allocated to nine projects across eight municipalities who have bucket toilets in the province.”
On Monday, the Democratic Alliance said it had lodged a complaint with the SA Human Rights Commission regarding the increased use of the bucket toilet system in three provinces.
“The basis of our complaint is the big increase in the number of bucket toilets in the Eastern Cape, North West and KwaZulu-Natal,” said DA co-operative governance and traditional affairs spokesman Kevin Mileham.