Eradicating the unhygienic use of bucket toilet system which is used by an estimated 18,000 households is still a major challenge faced by the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro.
The failure of the municipality to meet up with set targets has prompted service delivery protests in townships like Walmer and Missionvale.
In Walmer Township located in Port Elizabeth, about 3 000 households still use the bucket toilet system, and due to the fact that the buckets are picked up once a week for disposal, the residents seek alternative means to answer nature’s call.
About 30 tenants in one community rely on two bucket toilets.
This is very common in informal settlements as revealed by Mbuyiseli Lukwe, who is a resident of a communal set up, in Walmer G-West, an informal settlement,
“In 1994 we were told that the bucket system will be eradicated, but since then there is no change. We still have the bucket system. The buckets get fetched once a week if you walk around here you will see that the buckets are full, sometimes the workers go on strike, and you have to make other means like digging a pit hole.”
Through projects such as placing people in proper houses, the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro has succeeded in eradicating more than 12,000 bucket toilets since 2005.
The metro is now looking at taking temporary measures in the form of building communal ablution systems for informal settlement dwellers.
Councillor for Infrastructure and Engineering, Andile Mfunda says “These ablution facilities are an interim measure to address this bucket system in stressed areas, but our primary aim is to give people houses in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro,” says Mfunda.
Apart from Walmer residents in the Nelson Mandela Bay metro, some parts of Uitenhage, Despatch and Missionvale also use the bucket toilet system.
R50 million has been budget by the metro for water and sanitation in the Missionvale area.
About 755 houses have already been connected and the pipeline is set commence water distribution before the end of June.
However, the residents are still worried because they don’t have taps or toilet facilities to enjoy the water with. But, the municipality gave them the assurance that they will work with the Human Settlements Department to address all the outstanding challenges in the area.