'Bucket system on way out'

Canaan Mdletshe

KwaZulu-Natal Premier S'bu Ndebele yesterday assured the people of the province that the bucket system would be eliminated by the end of this month.

He was speaking in Pietermaritzburg where he presented his last speech as premier.

Ndebele, who won't stand for re-election in the ANC's provincial leadership in May, said in 2004 they had declared war on lack of service delivery.

This was after indications that the province performed poorly in the country in the provision of piped water, sanitation, refuse removal and electricity.

Ndebele said a lot of progress had been made in dealing with the backlogs.

"We have progressively eradicated the bucket toilet system in KwaZulu-Natal. In 2003 we had 13605 households who used the bucket system. We have progressively reduced this number of households to 3266 in 2004 and to 101 last year.

"I would like to announce that the bucket system that is still in use at the last four units in Umzimkhulu local municipality will be eradicated by February 20."

Ndebele said 31percent of 2,2million households in the province were without potable water in their areas.

"In respect of sanitation, one million people do not enjoy basic sanitation and therefore basic human dignity."

He said that the municipalities with the most backlogs of water and sanitation were Zululand, Ugu, Uthungulu, Umzinyathi, Umgungundlovu and Umkhanyakude.

He said in respect of electricity, 34percent of households did not have an electricity connection.

Ndebele raised concern over last year's matric pass rate, saying though they it was positive, it could be better with the support and commitment of all stakeholders in the province.

He said that as part of their undertaking to give appropriate recognition to the king, a Royal Household Trust has been established to look at the well-being of the king's needs.