More than 60000 South African households still use the bucket toilet system - 12 years past the initial deadline set by the government to eradicate them.
This is according to Statistics SA's Non-Financial Census of Municipalities 2017 report released this week.
The report lifted the lid on the shameful picture in some of the municipalities.
It showed that almost 930000 households used chemical toilets or urine diversion latrines while 62042 used bucket toilets. In 2016, the number was 68480. This includes formal and informal settlements.
Department of Water and Sanitation spokesman Sputnik Ratau yesterday said the bulk of bucket toilets were in informal settlements as only 11001 existed in formal settlements across the country.
"That's the figure we are working towards and at the moment we are still looking into how long can it take to eradicate those," he said.
Ratau said the bucket system was a part of South Africa's history, especially for the less privileged, and the department wanted to eradicate it as soon as possible. "The department is working towards restoring the dignity of the people by eradicating this bucket toilet system completely."
The system, needing the buckets to be regularly emptied and cleaned, has kicked up a stink for the government as several targets for eradicating bucket toilets over the years have been missed, with the initial one being 2006.
Municipalities in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo reported zero provision of bucket toilets, the report said.