“Almost 20 years of freedom and democracy, and we are still stuck with a system from apartheid,” says Katriena Baadjies,resident of Modderpoel in Victoria West.
The bucket system probably one of the most undignified, unsanitary, unhygienic,and inhumane systems in South Africa. The system presents a severe health risk to those who use them and to those who transport them.
Because of its smell, it attracts flies and associated health risks.
The South African Human Rights Commission says that the bucket system is a human rights violation and that the government must come up with a sanitation plan that immediately eradicates the use of buckets as toilets.
The bucket system is used by more than 500 households in Victoria West.
“The system is especially dangerous to us as elderly people because we have to go out at night. We could be killed or raped,” says Else Tietties, a 55-year-old from the community.
“The system also gives infections to us as woman,” says Sandra Karelse.
The National bucket sanitation replacement programme, aimed at replacing all bucket toilets in informal settlements in South Africa, started in February 2005 and was aimed at eradicating all the buckets by December 2007.
The Minister of Co-operative Governance, Richard Baloyi, said last week that he thought the bucket system was long gone, but the fact that it lived on came to his attention recently when he was assessing the state of sanitation.
He said there were areas where there was not even a record of a single toilet in a community.