Improving sanitation reduces the risk of infection from excreta-related diseases, especially for children under the age of five. Since 1994, the government has introduced programmes to reduce the high sanitation backlogs in South Africa. Sanitation backlogs have decreased overall but remain high in rural areas.
To understand some of the reasons for the slow progress in reducing sanitation backlogs in rural municipalities, the Financial and Fiscal Commission (the Commission) undertook a review of constraints within the current intergovernmental fiscal relations system and weaknesses of current institutional arrangements. The study found that backlogs remain high in rural municipalities because the Rural Household Infrastructure Programme is underperforming, and municipalities are under-spending the Rural Household Infrastructure Grant. Reasons for this include the design of the grant (as an indirect grant), the failure by municipalities to submit business plans on time and to prioritise sanitation infrastructure by including it in their integrated development plans and maintenance plans.
The Commission recommends that rural municipalities prioritise the delivery of sanitation infrastructure, explore waterless technologies, and develop a complete delivery plan that includes relevant technologies, and scheduled and costed periodical maintenance. Government should also undertake a comprehensive evaluation of the impact of sanitation grants and provide capacity-building to rural municipalities.
Policy Report by the Financial and Fiscal Commission
Reviewing the Effectiveness of Sanitation Fiscal Instruments and Governance in Enhancing Rural Development - Policy Brief 93.22 MB