Residents of informal settlements in the Eastern Cape are living in squalor due to a lack of toilet and sanitary services in these areas.
Of the 387 informal settlements in the province, a total of 146 697 out of a total of 608 435 informal dwellings receive some sort of toilet and hygiene service from the province.
This equates to only 24% of all settlements receiving toilet and hygiene services.
In response to a written question I posed to Human Settlements MEC Helen Sauls-August earlier this year, the following response was noted:
- Of the 608 435 informal dwellings in the province 24 000 (18%) received yard piped water;
- Street stand pipes were accessed by 49 352 or 37% of dwellings while a mere 8% or 10 670 dwellings had the luxury of flush toilets;
- Pit latrines comprise 25 342 units or 19% of services to informal dwellings;
- A major concern is that the inhumane system of bucket toilets constitute 27% or 36 000 units of services.
While the MEC states in her reply that the Department of Human Settlements is upgrading informal settlements with services in the province, this amounts to an additional 37 940 dwellings receiving toilet and sanitary services. This state of affairs is a disgrace and an affront to the human dignity of these communities.
The province is not serious about large scale, rapid upgrading of informal settlements to habitable settlements.
The legislative Bill on the Upgrading of Informal Settlements has yet to be debated and legislated after an three-year administrative and consultative process which has still not been finalised.
On 23 January 2013 I reported the shocking lack of sanitation in our informal settlements to the Human Rights Commission.
It is disappointing and regrettable that to date the Commission has given no further feedback since their first letter of acknowledgement as to their investigations and planned action in this regard.
I have today yet again followed up with the Human Rights Commission and hope to receive action feedback on Monday.
In view of the seriousness and urgency of this matter I have escalated this issue to my DA colleague in parliament, Stevens Mokgalapa for his intervention and action with the national Minister of Human Settlements.
In addition, I will be raising this issue during the budget meetings of the Human Settlements portfolio committee of the legislature in May. I will request that where possible, more funding be allocated or viremented to supplying these settlements with dignified sanitation and toilet facilities.
It is unfair that these vulnerable and impoverished people have to bear the added burden of non-existent or inadequate toilet facilities as part of their everyday lives.
Dacre Haddon, MPL