So long, too long ago, South Africans were promised (many times) that they will be dignified with a better toilet system as the shameful, humiliating, unhygienic, offensive, irritating, demeaning and disgraceful use of bucket toilets will be eradicated. Nonetheless, the dream of completely destroying the embarrassing bucket toilets and replacing them with something more dignifying if not the portable flush toilets is gloomy based on the latest statistics on the use of bucket toilets in South Africa released by Statistics South Africa.
The data revealed that all those “poo protest” didn’t change much as “bucket toilet system remains a persistent phenomenon in seven of the nine provinces despite measures to eradicate it.”
As seen, 84,065 consumer units were serviced with bucket toilets in 2014 nationally, the Eastern Cape and the Free States are the provinces where you’ll find most of the bucket toilets in South Africa, and Nelson Mandela Bay, the leading municipality. 37 percent of all the bucket toilets are in Free State, 42 percent are located in Eastern Cape with an overwhelming percentage of the bucket toilets concentrated in Nelson Mandela Bay. 29,429 bucket toilets were provided to consumer units in the municipality in 2014. A figure representing 35 percent of the national total.
Also, the use of bucket toilets increased in North West, Northern Cape and Mpumalanga due to the increasing number of informal settlement. Municipalities were thereby challenged to provide more devices for depositing human waste. Bucket toilets were thus made available as a temporary solution in order to offer the municipalities time to work and develop better lavatory infrastructures.
But then, that’s not the case with all the municipalities. Some of them simply can’t afford to provide improved toilet system as they lack the funds that will make such project possible. Bucket toilets are equally still existing in Gauteng, there’s however, no increase nor decrease in their use in Gauteng. KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo are the two provinces where bucket toilet system isn’t prevailing.
The Data further unveiled that a total of 51 municipalities provided bucket toilets to communities in 2014. While Tswaing, a municipality in North West was able to eradicate bucket toilets, Naledi in North West and Blue Crane in Eastern Cape reintroduced the use of bucket toilets after it was recognized as municipalities with no bucket toilets.
In all, 13 municipalities experienced increase in bucket toilets, 16 recorded a decrease whereas 22 reported no change in bucket toilet provision. Implying the municipalities didn’t replace existing toilet buckets with other better options, and didn’t provide more bucket toilets. The leading municipalities with bucket toilets is better illustrated by the graph below.