||This paper explores the challenges in providing access to decent sanitation - as a human right guaranteed by the 1996 South African Constitution and a United Nations Millennium Development Goal - to all. The paper contends that the elimination of the bucket system needs to be understood in a broader context of sanitation coverage to both rural and urban areas as well as public spaces - such as schools and clinics - and individual residential areas. Secondly, effective approach to the elimination of the bucket system needs to include the participation of the beneficiaries in technology choice, capacity building of the beneficiaries and municipal officials, technology transfer to the communities, and community ownership. Otherwise, access to sanitation as a human right and one of stepping stones to better life for all will remain an empty shell at the level of political propagandas around the elections.
The study used primary and secondary data. Primary data consists of participant observation, empirical research, and the day-to-day protests highlighting social and economic discontents. Secondary data include the South African government’s policy documents at both national and municipal levels, key state officials’ speeches, the National Policy on Sanitation, White Paper on Water and Sanitation, National Sanitation Strategy, Water Services Development plans of municipalities and the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.
Whereas progress have been made since the democratic breakthrough in 1994, there are challenges in effectively eliminating the bucket system in schools and clinics in both urban and rural areas due to social , economic, institutional and technological problems that ordinary citizens face in the existing informal settlements and mushrooming of the new ones and in rural areas.