Slow improvement to sanitation

More than 8,000 South African households are still using the bucket system.

A toilet at Jaji Secondary School in Venda, Limpopo on 9 January 2013. Picture: Tara Meaney/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Government's latest development indicators show that access to sanitation is improving, but at a lacklustre pace.

More than 8,000 South African households are still using the bucket system with the Free State province accounting for almost 87 percent of them.

Disregard of routine maintenance by some municipalities has reportedly led to the collapse of sanitation services in several areas.

The number of households using the bucket system in 2012 is slightly higher than the previous year which government concedes is a concern.

Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane says urbanisation is a challenge.

"The whole issue needs to be looked at in context. There's a lot of urbanisation which is taking place in the country, people moving from rural areas to urban areas. The infrastructure there and the availability of things like accommodation don't match the inflow."

Meanwhile, the Western Cape has been hit by the so-called poo wars. Khayelitsha residents have been using human waste as a form of protest to demand basic sanitation.

Over 100 protesters were arrested after they were caught with human waste on their way to the provincial legislature where they planned to dump it.

The residents say this is the only way to be heard as they have been waiting for toilets for decades.

However, the DA-led government has condemned the poo wars saying there are other ways to voice one's grievances.