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Water Sector Policy Database (WSPD)

Policy Detail Information
Policy Name: White Paper on Basic Household Sanitation – September 2001

Open Policy Document Open Policy Document
This document has been opened: 946 times to date.
Date Of Release: 01 Sep 2001
Date Of Expected Review:
Date Last Updated: 21 Sep 2010
Policy Type: White paper
Policy Level: National
Department: Department of Water Affairs: Water Services Policy and Strategy
Contact Name: Mbentse Bekubuhle / Ndlovu Siboniso
Phone Number: 012 336 7451 / 336 7391
Fax Number: 012 336 6560
Email: /
Directorate: National Sanitation Programme
Contact Name: Mirriam Ngoatje
Phone Number: (012) 336 6587
Fax Number: (012) 336 4344
Topics covered:
Legislations Impacting on WS/WR
Policy Precis:

Government has a constitutional responsibility to ensure that all South Africans have access to adequate sanitation. The publication of this national sanitation policy is an important step in the process of meeting this responsibility and in addressing the problems of inadequate sanitation.

The purpose of this policy document is to:

  • highlight the impact of poor sanitation on health, living conditions and the environment;
    articulate government policies on sanitation
    provide a basis for the formulation of local,
    provincial and national sanitation improvement strategies aimed at addressing the backlog;
  • provide a framework for municipality driven implementation programmes;
  • promote greater coherence and co-ordination amongst the different spheres of government and amongst other role players in addressing the sanitation problem;
  • ensure that sanitation improvement programmes are adequately funded; and
  • put in place mechanisms to monitor the implementation of this policy and sanitation improvement programmes so that corrective action can be taken when necessary.

This policy focuses specifically on the provision of a basic level of household sanitation to mainly rural communities and informal settlements. These are the areas with the greatest need. This policy also deals with the need for an environmentally sound approach to providing sanitation services and addresses the need to protect surface and ground water resources from sanitation pollution through integrated environmental management practices.

The problem of inadequate sanitation has negative impacts on the health and social well being of communities, on the environment and on the economy of the country. The aim in this document is to address the sanitation problem by means of the following strategic interventions:
  • facilitating the participation of communities;
  • promoting health and hygiene awareness and education;
  • adopting an integrated environmental management approach;
  • developing a common approach to implementation; and
  • implementing specific sanitation construction programmes to clear the backlog.
The roles of the various structures of government – the various departments as well as national, provincial and local government - are also outlined in this document.

Section Summary

  Section Number Section Heading Section Description
A INTRODUCTION Introduction; Purpose; Definitions
B THE SANITATION PROBLEM Overview of the problem; Health problems associated with poor sanitation; The environmental impacts of poor sanitation; The economic cost of poor sanitation; Social and psychological problems associated with poor sanitation
D STRATEGIC INTERVENTIONS Participation of communities; Promotion of health and hygiene awareness and practices; Development and use of local resources; Upgrading of existing facilities; The adoption of an integrated environmental management approach; Adoption of a common approach to implementation; Specific programmes to clear the backlog; Target date for clearing the backlog; Prioritise communities with the greatest need; Develop plans to address the sanitation problem; Institutional, funding and monitoring arrangements
E INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS Constitutional responsibilities; The roles and responsibilities of municipal government; The roles and responsibilities of provincial government ;The roles and responsibilities of National Government; The roles and responsibilities of the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry; The roles and responsibilities of the Department of Provincial and Local Government; The roles and responsibilities of the Department of Health; The roles and responsibilities of National Treasury; The roles and responsibilities of the Department of Housing; The roles and responsibilities of the Department of Education; The roles and responsibilities of the Department of Public Works; The roles and responsibilities of the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism; The private sector; Non-governmental organisations Coordination; mechanisms
F THE FUNDING OF SANITATION IMPROVEMENT Sources of funding for sanitation improvement; Equitable Share subsidy; Infrastructure grants and the requirement for rationalization; Municipalities own revenue; The housing subsidy; The Integrated Development Plan as an interim integrating mechanism for the alignment of funding
G MONITORING AND EVALUATION OF THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THIS POLICY Key performance indicators; Crisis reporting; Computer systems

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