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TitleFree basic sanitation services – South African experience
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsMjoli, N, Bhagwan, J
Pagination12 p.; 3 tab.; 1 box
Date Published2008-11-19
Place PublishedDelft, The Netherlands
Keywordsaccess to sanitation, poverty, south africa

Access to a basic sanitation service as a human right is enshrined in the Constitution of South Africa(1996). Municipalities have an obligation to provide basic sanitation services to the poor. They are faced with a challenge of balancing the eradication of the basic sanitation infrastructure backlog with the provision of free basic sanitation services to households already provided with infrastructure in anenvironment of limited sanitation budgets. The aim of this study was to investigate the approaches used by municipalities to provide free basic sanitation services. The study analyzed eight case studies of municipalities representing large metros, district and local municipalities spread over seven provinces. It focused on assessing policies used to provide free basic sanitation services, funding arrangements, integration of health and hygiene education, poverty reduction, operation and maintenance plans for dryon-site sanitation systems and methods used to target the poor. The study found that most municipalitiesare implementing free basic sanitation services as part of a package of free basic services provided to theregistered indigent households. A few municipalities are providing free basic sanitation services to all households that are connected to sewer networks irrespective of their socio-economic status. The fundingsources for free basic sanitation services include cross-subsidies and an equitable share grant from thenational fiscus. Health and hygiene education is provided during the implementation of basic sanitation infrastructure and only a few municipalities are providing health and hygiene education as a service Most municipalities are installing VIP toilets on a large scale without any plans for emptying the pitswhen the toilets are full and this is posing a threat to the long-term sustainability of free basic sanitationservices. However, a few municipalities showed innovation in their approach to the planning ofsustainable basic sanitation services for poor rural communities. The study concluded that the provision of free basic sanitation services to all households connected to the sewer networks is not financiallysustainable because of poor cost recovery. The majority of the poor are not benefiting from free basicsanitation services because they lack access to basic sanitation infrastructure.

(authors abstract)

Custom 172, 824




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