Department refutes claims on cost of toilets

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The Department of Water and Sanitation has refuted claims by the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA), who have alleged that government will spend R88 500 on a single bucket toilet.

“Department of Water and Sanitation denies this as incorrect and sensational, with the ultimate outcome of misleading the public and cast aspersions on government spending and priorities. The budget allocation against the audited and completed number of toilets, as reflected by OUTA, is by no means correct or an accurate reflection of the cost of the toilet,” the department said in a statement.

The department explained that on average, the provision of a dry sanitation solution in areas without adequate infrastructure to enable the flushing of the toilet can cost up to R11 500 per toilet and R15 000 for waterborne toilet. This excludes new water, sewer reticulation, as well as bulk services in the affected area.

The department also noted that waterborne sanitation requires a number of aspects to enable the flushing of a toilet.

“This includes site preparation and establishment, digging and installing services such as reticulation and providing the top structures and yard connections. Generally, 70% of the project cost will go towards the reticulation (work underground), whilst the balance entails site establishment costs, new toilet structures and furniture, project management and design fees,” the department said.

The department reiterated its commitment to eradicate bucket toilets in formal settlements, while ensuring that all South Africans enjoy proper and dignified sanitation services that they were denied by the erstwhile government.

“We will execute this constitutional mandate while following the necessary prescripts and we will not be deterred from this noble cause.

Bulk and reticulation prioritised for completion

Tabling the department’s Budget Vote speech in the National Assembly on Tuesday, Water and Sanitation Minister Gugile Nkwinti announced that all outstanding bulk and reticulation projects from 2007/08 will be prioritised for completion this financial year.

The Minister said the department will engage National Treasury and the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) to address the perennial problem of billions of municipal grant funds that are either unspent or irregularly spent, for which the department must account.

“The department is committing to working closer with COGTA to ensure that bulk water projects that were completed in municipalities - without reticulation services - are provided with such reticulation in the current financial year,” he said.

More than 40 000 buckets eradicated 

Meanwhile, during the debate on the Budget Speech, the Deputy Minister of Water and Sanitation, Pamela Tshwete, said of the 52 249 buckets in the formal settlements that were to be eradicated, 41 248 buckets have been eradicated.

‘’The remaining 11 001 is still work in progress with a budget of R1 billion that has been allocated under Estimated National Expenditure for the current 2018/19 financial year. The focus will be on the Free State and Northern Cape provinces,” Tshwete said. –