“The basis of our complaint is the big increase in the number of bucket toilets in the Eastern Cape, North West and KwaZulu-Natal,” Democratic Alliance cooperative governance and traditional affairs spokesman Kevin Mileham said.
The worst offender was the Eastern Cape, where the number of households using the system increased from 38,606 to 52,732 in one year between June 2012 and 2013.
This was according to a Statistics SA report released on August 28, with the province having the most households which used the system.
The North West and KwaZulu-Natal also reported increases, according to Stats SA’s Non-Financial Census of Municipalities, June 2013.
In North West, 1481 households were using the bucket toilet system in 2012. This increased to 1750 in 2013.
In KwaZulu-Natal, no households were using the bucket system, but in 2013, 1585 were using it, according to Stats SA.
Mileham, with DA water spokeswoman Nosimo Balindlela and local DA councillors, laid the complaint with the SAHRC at Walmer township in Port Elizabeth.
“The reason why we did it in Walmer township in Port Elizabeth is because the biggest increase in bucket toilets was in Port Elizabeth, which again increased by 8000,” Mileham said.
“There are better ways of dealing with human sanitation than the bucket system.”
The problem continued due to a lack of political will, with nothing happening at local government level.
Mileham said the matter was a national priority, which needed to be addressed by local, provincial and national government.
In Nelson Mandela Bay municipality, millions had been budgeted to address the problem over the last three years, with nothing done.
“It’s the poorest people who are suffering,” he said.
Using the bucket toilet system was undignified, and posed health and hygiene problems.
“Days and weeks go by when these toilets aren’t serviced,” Mileham said.
The DA hoped the SAHRC would be able to produce a report on the matter in the new year.
Mileham said both he and Balindlela would also drive the process through their respective Parliament portfolio committees, and in Parliament itself.
“This issue needs to be highlighted because we feel we are going backwards,” he said.
The Nelson Mandela Bay metro’s 13th edition of its 2011-2016 integrated development plan, for the 2014/15 financial year, stated 20,900 households in the metro still used the bucket system.
Some bucket toilets were also operated privately, the extent of which was still being established.