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The City of Cape Town notes the publication by Stats SA of the results in the non-financial census of municipalities for the year ended 30 June 2015.

We believe that this report resolves a number of the methodological questions we had last week related to the Stats SA results of the Household Survey 2015. We maintained that there was a discrepancy in both the definitions and methodology applied.

The results for sanitation provision in the non-financial census for the City of Cape Town are as follows:

City of Cape Town 2014 2015
Flush toilet connected to public sewerage system 595 641 608 106
Flush toilet connected septic tank 3 561 3 651
Bucket 377 223
Ventilated improved pit latrine system 0 13
Other 32 484 33 960

It will be noted that although there appears to be under-reporting of the number of flush toilets, given that there are 898 557 formal households in the city which are connected to the City’s sewerage system, according to these comparative results sanitation provision across all typologies has improved, and the use of bucket toilets has decreased. Further, the report reveals that Cape Town consistently provides the best package of free basic services compared with all other metros.

This is a vast difference from the results of the General Household Survey which claimed that in the City of Cape Town 67 000 households are using bucket toilets or had no sanitation.

Upon further clarity by the Statistician-General, Pali Lehohla, today, it is accepted that some households continue to use a bucket toilet which they then empty into a communal system because they feel unsafe accessing the communal system. It is for this reason that we have provided portable flush toilets which are a cleaner and safer alternative and which are serviced by the City of Cape Town.

This confirms the City’s observation last week which is that we are using different datasets, with different perspectives. These metrics used by the City of Cape Town are not extrapolated but actual figures, whereas Stats SA used a statistically representative sample in the General Household Survey of the perceptions of a sample of households and extrapolates this to the entire population.

We welcome the results of the non-financial census of municipalities and look forward to continual engagement with Stats SA.

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