Statistics South Africa published its Water and Sanitation Report based on the General Household Survey: 2002-2015 on 23 November 2016. The report notes that in order to address poverty and under-development, the government has prioritised the provision of basic water and sanitation services to the poor because of the perceived high impact of these services on the lives of the poor. The report further presents statistics for drinking water and sanitation indicators and benchmarks reported by surveyed South African households.
Nationally, 92,5% of households have access to improved drinking water sources. Western Cape (99,4%), Free State (99,3%), Northern Cape (99,1%) and Gauteng (98,6%) reported almost universal access to improved drinking water sources. Even though Eastern Cape has the lowest percentages of households (75,7%) with access to improved drinking water sources, the province reported the largest percentage points increase from 2002, when 60,9% of households reported accessing improved drinking water sources.
The majority of households in Western Cape (93,3%) and Gauteng (91%) had access to improved sanitation facilities, while about half of those in Limpopo (54%) and just below two-thirds of those in Mpumalanga (65,8%) had access to improved sanitation facilities. It is notable that access to improved sanitation facilities grew most rapidly in Eastern Cape (+48,2 percentage points) between 2002 and 2015.
The government took a decision to accelerate the eradication of the bucket sanitation system because this system was considered unhygienic and expensive to maintain. It also violates the dignity of the users and of those responsible for collection and disposal of human waste from bucket toilets. The Western Cape (4%), recorded the highest percentage of households using the bucket toilet system, followed by Free State (2,7%) and Northern Cape (2,4%), while Mpumalanga (0,1%) reported the lowest number of households using the bucket toilet system.
See infographic for more on the status of water and sanitation in SA: