Analysis of government compliance in the provision of water and sanitation to rural communities: a case study of Lepelle Nkumpi local municipality, Limpopo province
Mothapo, Raesibe Anna
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A persistent challenge facing especially post-apartheid South African rural municipalities is service delivery compliance. Under the guise of scarcity, rural municipalities repeatedly do not comply with legislation, policies and guidelines for the provision of drinking water and basic sanitation services for the poor. Yet, such challenges concern equity, justice and fairness to social policy and seriously impact the sustainability of livelihood of millions of rural households. The main objective of this study is to analyse the extent to which Lepelle Nkumpi Local Municipality has complied with or deviated from specific policies and legislation governing the provision of water and sanitation services at the Gedroogte, Ga Molapo and Magatle (in Zebediela) rural communities and the response of communities. The study was also intended to determine the extent to which water challenges affect the livelihood of the people in the communities. It highlights the refugee-like conditions that millions of South African citizens experience despite official statistics that claim that 86% of the country has access to potable water. A mixed methods design was used for this analysis. The qualitative methods that are used in the study include use of in-depth interviews, site visits, personal stories and the Municipal Integrated Development Programme (IDP). Participatory mapping of water sources; story-telling about water issues; timelines and trend lines by focus group members; transect walks and 7 key informant interviews were used to collect data. A total of 657 quantitative interviews were conducted in three communities. Service delivery compliance has been grossly ineffective and inefficient in Lepelle Nkumpi Local Municipality, especially in the Gedroogte, Ga Molapo and Magatle rural communities. The findings were that these rural communities still depend on state-owned boreholes for accessing drinking water, which are regularly broken and/or in disrepair. Sanitation service provision in the rural communities does not comply with the approved policy of providing ventilated improved pit (VIP) toilets. New settlements have increased the demand for clean water. Shortages of staff with relevant skills such as management, technicians, and administrators are one of the main reasons why there is a scarce supply of drinking water and basic sanitation services at the Gedroogte, Ga Molapo and Magatle communities. Inaccessibility to nearby treatment plants for waste disposal services (situation per community) and inaccessible disposal facilities and the use of disposal sites also affect the health conditions of community members within the Lepelle Nkumpi Local Municipality.