An assessment this year showed that 2 367 households nationwide are still using the bucket system.
This sad reality did not go down well with President Hage Geingob who directed the implementing ministries and agencies to ensure the system is phased out before the end of 2017.
The president described the bucket system as ‘demeaning’.
A bucket toilet, also called a honey bucket or bucket latrine, is a very simple, basic form of a dry toilet which is portable. The bucket toilet may carry significant health risks compared to an improved sanitation system.
Last year, the Urban and Rural Development Minister, Sophia Shaningwa, had vowed to eliminate the bucket toilet system in Namibia by the end of 2017.
Speaking at Opuwo at the time, Shaningwa promised that she would not rest until the roll-out of 50 000 rural toilets proposed under the social progression pillar of the Harambee Prosperity Plan was realised.
During the State of the Nation Address last week, Geingob said progress in eliminating the bucket system has been less than satisfactory. “However, we now have a better understanding of the scope of the problem,” he said.
Further, Geingob noted that about 780 households have been identified in the Hardap and //Kharas regions where construction work has already commenced to replace this system.
Another government priority he outlined is the delivery of serviced urban land, housing and sanitation. He announced that the government has made good progress in servicing residential land, especially in Walvis Bay, Swakopmund, Outapi and Oshakati.
“In Windhoek, we are also making progress, albeit at a slower pace,” he maintained.
In total, he said, 7 754 plots have been serviced countrywide, surpassing the annual target of 6 000.
He added that 5 554 houses were completed nationwide in year one of the Harambee Prosperity Plan, exceeding the annual target of 5 000 houses.
“Unfortunately some houses remain unoccupied for too long due to the bureaucratic process involved in the transfer of ownership of land. We are following up on those cases and working with partners to expedite the process,” he said. On national power, Geingob explained that the government targeted zero load-shedding under Harambee, saying today the electricity supply situation in Namibia has improved significantly due to the inclusion of renewable sources in the national energy mix.
Concerning road infrastructure, Geingob said the Harambee Prosperity plan targets 526 km of specific roads to be upgraded to dual carriageway, or bitumen over the Harambee period.
In year one, he revealed, 159 km were completed, which represents a completion rate of 30 percent and suggests this target is attainable over the remaining period of three years.
“The good progress recorded with respect to the delivery of serviced residential land and housing would not have been possible without the involvement of Harambee partners such as the municipalities, GIPF, Development Bank of Namibia, Namibia Housing Enterprise, Shack Dwellers Federation, with support from its partners, the Build Together programme and private property developers. I thank them all. This is the spirit of Harambee, alive and at work,” he said.