Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Sanitation development not keeping up with urbanisation

The movement of people to major urban centres and mushrooming of shanty towns is throttling the government’s best efforts to provide proper sanitation for all its people, says Deputy Minister of Human Settlements Zoe Kota-Fredericks.

Speaking at the official opening of the World Toilet Summit in Durban yesterday Kota-Fredericks said in South Africa access to effective sanitation was limited and not keeping pace with the rapid rate of urbanisation and industrial growth in cities.

“Less than 20% of citizens are currently served by a public sewer, with the vast majority reliant on various forms of on-site sanitation. In terms of funding, for every rand spent on water, two rands are required for sanitation,” she said.

She added that many other countries in Africa also had a similar lack of limited access to sanitation.

“The lack of proper and basic sanitation captured the national public space in South Africa as a key rallying point in 2011 local government elections. As a result, we established the ministerial sanitation task team to look into the underlying root causes of the lack of sanitation services.”

According to the deputy minister, the task team found there was a lack of coordination between the different spheres of government and weak institutional capacity of the state across the board, coupled with fragmentation of responsibilities for sanitation.

To ensure sanitation woes were tackled, the deputy minister announced that the department was developing a master plan to deal with sanitation. She said sanitation had now become a full national priority.

“The Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission (PICC) has elevated sanitation as one of the key strategic infrastructure projects, now known as SIP 18,” she said.

“Under the stewardship of the PICC, the country is now developing a sanitation and water master plan.

“The overall aim of the master plan is to have comprehensive sanitation services that enhance community wellbeing, reduced health care costs and improve productivity, promote sustainable hygiene behaviour, strengthen coordination between central, regional, district and local areas and integrate sanitation”systems.”

The summit is a gathering of people from governments, municipalities and other sectors from across the world to discuss ways of improving sanitation, the main summit theme.


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