KZN was rocked by service delivery protests in Ugu in recent weeks.
KZN was rocked by service delivery protests in Ugu in recent weeks.

StatsSA reveals more communities are gaining access to basic service delivery

By Karen Singh Time of article published Apr 6, 2021

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DURBAN - IN SPITE of an often bleak picture being painted of service delivery, a national survey has found reason for hope as statistics point to an improvement in certain areas. Overall, more people are gaining access to basic service delivery, according to the 2019 Non-Financial Census of Municipalities (NFCM) report released by Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) last week.

The SA Local Government Association (Salga) welcomed the findings of the report which measures service delivery, including water, electricity, solid waste management and sanitation. “The NFCM has shown that local government in South Africa is making meaningful progress in delivering basic services to the communities they serve,” said Salga.

The association said the number of bucket toilets supplied by municipalities had declined by 47.6% from 2015 to 2019. The report found that from 2018 to 2019, KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and Limpopo had reported that there had been no provision of bucket toilets by municipalities. “Significant strides have been made in providing communities from the most vulnerable areas with better forms of sanitation.”

However, municipalities in the North West and Free State recorded an increase in the use of bucket toilets in 2019 compared with 2018.

Salga noted that the number of consumers receiving four basic services had increased from 2018 to 2019, while the number of consumers receiving services for free had declined.

This decline was as a result of the improved mechanisms of municipalities which were now better equipped to identify indigent beneficiaries, and households that could afford to pay were being billed accordingly.

The Western Cape showed the highest proportion of consumers who benefited from the free basic water policy (43.5%), followed by the Eastern Cape (32.8%) and KZN (31%).

In KZN during 2019, of the over 1.9 million electricity consumers in the province, more than 32 000 additional units were provided with electricity, while the number of free electricity beneficiaries increased by more than 2700 to 306 000.

During the same time in KZN, more than 2.3 million consumers received sewerage and sanitation services which increased by more than 82 000 from 2018. The number of consumer units receiving free basic sewerage and sanitation services showed a significant decrease of over 160 000, with only 265 833 people benefiting in 2019.

The number of consumers who received solid waste management services increased by just over 10 000 in 2019 with more than 1.7 million receiving the service, while the number of free service beneficiaries increased by over 200 000, moving from 503 641 in 2018 to 713 348 in 2019.

Salga said for the period under review, the highest percentage increase was recorded in the provision of sewerage and sanitation (7.6%), followed by solid waste management (5.8%), water (5.2%) and electricity (4.2%).

THE MERCURY

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