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Although government has made important progress towards addressing the sanitation and water supply backlogs since 1994, the sanitation sector is faced with ongoing growth of formal and informal settlements, particularly in urban area, which exacerbates the challenge.

According to Census 2011 there is a backlog of more than 38,274 sanitation buckets in the province, with the majority being within the City of Cape Town and the city accounts for 80% of the buckets used in the province.

The HDA has been appointed via a section 29 mandate as implementing agent for the bucket eradication programme in the Western Cape – and has immediately launched a pilot project in Boystown.

The Agency has adapted a communal toilet model in consultation with local communities. In terms of this approach, one container is provided for every 30 households. Each container has six toilets; in other words, each toilet is shared by five families. In each case, two containers are placed alongside each other: one for women and one for men.

Two containers and twelve toilets are currently being installed in Boystown. Most of the units will be rolled out around the City of Cape Town during the financial year 2014-2015.

"We are starting with the areas in greatest need: Khayelitsha, Philippi, Crossroads, Nyanga, Gugulethu, Langa and Blouberg. We will also focus on the Cape Winelands and Eden, where there are similar challenges," said Bosco Khoza (HDA regional programme manager: Western Cape).

Where possible, the containers will have water-borne sewage. But where there is no access to sewer mains, disposal will be provided by means of a conservancy tank that will be emptied on a regular basis.

The roll-out of the bucket eradication programme is being coordinated through a provincial steering committee reporting to a national 'Troika' of three Ministries, Human Settlements, Water Affairs and Co Operative Governance. The Steering Committee comprises representatives from the national Department of Human Settlements, the Western Cape provincial government and the City of Cape Town.

"We will continue to work closely with councillors and communities to ensure a smooth roll-out and active participation in developing solutions," said Khoza.