SA achieves basic water MDG

Social development minister Zola Skweyiya said recently the country had “done well” in eradicating inconsistencies in basic water supply, achieving the MDG on basic water provision ahead of the 2015 dateline.

As part of its quest to eradicate global challenges affecting developing countries, the United Nations put forward the Millennium Development Goals programme, aimed at combating challenges such as poverty, HIV/Aids, basic water supply and other development challenges by 2015.

Speaking to reporters in Pretoria during a briefing of government’s social cluster, Dr Skweyiya said at least 35.7 million of the targeted 37 million people in South Africa now had access to free basic water.

He said government had set a target to do away with the bucket toilet system in formal settlements by December 2007 and was well on course to achieve it, as 62 000 of these had been done away with.

“There are still 166 000 buckets to be eradicated in formal settlements and the majority of these are found in the Free State (province),” Skweyiya said.

He was however optimistic that the government would meet the 104 000 backlog on time.

“Government is looking at various interventions to address challenges and accelerate delivery to meet the 2008 target and improve the management and sustainability of these services.”

Som of the “interventions” include targeting 12 municipalities to lead new improved billing systems with particular attention to improving financial and economic viability.

The systems also seek to restore public confidence.

Skweyiya said the municipalities involved in the programme would include the City of Johannesburg and Nelson Mandela Bay as well as other small rural municipalities.

“It is anticipated that the project will yield models that can provide policy and operational guidance to other municipalities,” Dr Skweyiya said.

Preparations are also understood to be underway for a campaign to begin next month to prevent Malaria.

The indoor residual spraying method, using the Dichloro-Diphenyl-Trichloroethane (DDT) insecticide has been given a go-ahead by the World Health Organisation (WHO), which has acknowledged its “critical” role in combating the disease.

“Health promotion material on malaria prevention is currently being finalised and will be used ahead of the malaria season to mobilise communities about this sickness and how to prevent it,” Skweyiya said.

An audit targeted at strengthening health promotion activities on Malaria was also conducted in a number of provinces.

South Africa has previously stated that it would achieve some of the MDGs ahead of schedule.

At the United Nations General Assembly last year, Mbeki expressed confidence that South Africa would meet the MDGs by 2015, outlining a number of achievements already reached.

He noted that measures taken to eradicate poverty included social grants, an expanded public works programme and health initiatives.

July 2006
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