Picture: Lulama Zenzile/African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg -  Statistician-general Risenga Maluleke has applauded municipalities across the country for the drastic drop in the use of the bucket system since the advent of democracy in 1994.

This comes as the government has set targets to eradicate the bucket systems in rural areas over the next couple of years.

According to Maluleke, in 2014, the country had a record number of 85 718 households using the bucket system saying five years later the figures tell a different story and now stand at 42 612.

“This is a drop by 50.3%,” he said, as he released the annual 2018 non-financial census of municipalities in Pretoria on Thursday.

Maluleke pointed out that only 37 municipalities in the country provided bucket toilets and in 2018, at least 10 municipalities contributed most to the national total.

Among them, Maluleke listed Mangaung Metro; Ngwathe; Metsimaholo; Setsoto and Nale Local Municipalities in the Free State; Nelson Mandela Bay in Port Elizabeth and Kouga Municipality in the Eastern Cape as well as Sol Plaatje in Kimberley; Dawid Kruiper and Siyancuma in the Northern Cape.

Figures released yesterday also showed how two leading Gauteng metropolitan councils - Ekurhuleni Metro and the City of Tshwane - topped the list of the country’s 257 municipalities which continue to provide at least two of the four basic municipal services for free to ratepayers.

The four free basic services include 6kl of water free per household per month; 50kW of free electricity per household; subsidised sewerage and sanitation as well as subsidised solid waste management.

Maluleke, however, said municipalities used different mechanisms to determine if their ratepayers qualify for free basic services or not.

“The free basic services to consumer units decreased in all four services between 2017 and 2018 financial years.”

The breakdown of figures in the provision of free basic services by municipalities, he said, showed that 661275 lesser consumer units received free basic water in 2018 compared to 2017.

He further stated that up to 600815 fewer consumer units received free basic sewerage and sanitation last year, while 246349 lesser consumers received free electricity compared to 2017.

“The report further reveals that 1.8 million indigent households benefited from the support system of sewerage and sanitation while 2.3 million benefited from solid waste management provision,” Maluleke said.

In his report, Maluleke highlighted that the City of Ekurhuleni and the City of Cape Town were the highest on the lists of metropolitan councils in the country that provided free basic sewerage and sanitation.

Ekurhuleni is the highest with 65% and Cape Town 63%.

Two smallest Northern Cape municipalities of Siyathemba in Prieska also provide 64%, while Khâi-Ma in Poffader has a 72% provision rate.

Meanwhile, Ekurhuleni and Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality in East London were noted down as one of the only two councils in the country that provided free electricity.

Buffalo City tops the lists with 49% while Ekurhuleni has a 43% provision.

Free electricity services are provided in Mossel Bay Local Municipality and Swellendam Local Municipality, they provide 100% free electricity while West Coast District, also in the Western Cape, receives 17% while uMkhanyakude in KwaZulu-Natal is at 0%.

When it comes to providing free water, Tshwane was touted as the leading metro in the country which still provides 60% of its residents with free water followed by the embattled eThekwini Municipality in KZN.

Tshwane is also one of two metropolitan councils including the City of Cape Town which provided subsidised waste management services. While Cape Town tops of the list of metros with 57% - Tshwane is close with 52%.

Msinga Local Municipality in KZN has a 100% provision while Blouberg Local Municipality in Limpopo has 92%.

Political Bureau