Residents of Scotland Informal Settlement in Coligny, in the North West, are complaining that they are still using bucket toilets. They say they have not been provided with flushing toilets, despite existing infrastructure.
According to figures released by Stats SA this month, there was an increase in bucket toilets in the Free State and the North West in 2019 compared to the previous year. Over the years, government has made promises to eradicate the bucket system, but none of the deadlines have been met.
Research conducted by Stats SA indicated that the use of municipal-supplied bucket toilets decreased slightly from around 42 600 in 2018 to about 42 400 in 2019. However, Ditsobotla in the North West and the Nketoana Local Municipality in the Free State recorded the largest percentage increases in the use of bucket system.
In the North West, about 625 000 people are still using the bucket system. The Scotland Informal Settlement in Coligny is mostly affected by this. One is met with an unbearable stench when entering the area. Residents also use the bush to relieve themselves.
Although the area has been formalised for provision of low cost housing, about 1 900 locals are still staying in shacks. The informal settlement does have a sewerage infrastructure, but residents still endure the unhealthy living environment. Others even suggest that it brought them illnesses such as TB and diarrhoea, amongst others.
One resident says, “As a citizen of Scotland, I do not have toilets. When I have to go to the toilet, I have to go to the bushes, of which it degrades my dignity as a South African citizen.”
A local Ward 17 Councilor, Motsamai Mokoso, says the plight of the community, has been unsuccessfully referred to relevant authorities for intervention.
“As a ward councilor, I have raised these issues with the provincial government. By then, all the stakeholders where there – premier and MEC were there and HOD’s where there. I have reminded them that they promised my community the running toilets and also RDP houses, but till to date we are still waiting,” explains Mokoso.
The Department of Human Settlement in the North West has acknowledged that the basic human rights of the community has been violated. It has promised to intervene.
Human Settlement MEC Moloki Cwaile says, “(The) bucket system at Scotland Informal Settlement is not 20 years old. It is a matter of recent development as a result of the communities occupying (the) area that is not serviced and it is for this reason that we are moving quickly for this financial year and we will be providing services.”
Meanwhile, Manager for Human Rights Commission in the North West, Osmond Mngomezulu, concurs that the community has been deprived of their basic human rights.
“In a case like that, where the area has been established as a township area and there is a approval for installation of bulk infrastructure services in a situation like that, you would find that the basic human rights are threatened or violated due to failure of local government to discharge its obligations,” Mngomezulu explains.
The Department of Human Settlement says R12 million has been set aside to speed up the process of providing running water.