Ladies and Gentlemen
Representatives of Business and Partners of the Water & Sanitation Sector
Members of the Mayoral Committee of the City of Johannesburg
Commissioner Lulama Nare of the Commission on Gender Equity
It gives me great pleasure to host this important dialogue on health and hygiene focusing on our sanitation policy and our national objectives towards Vision 2030.
The purpose of this dialogue is to create awareness and advocacy around the policy positions of the new sanitation policy that took effect in December 2016.
The Statistician General of the Republic of South Africa, recently issued the outcomes of the General Household Survey which reflect that by June 2016, 89.4% of South Africans has access to piped water with 4.4% of the population still collecting water from rivers, streams etc.
The survey further went on to indicate that by the same period, over 80% of our national population had access to 'RDP standard' sanitation services.
The above reflects that our government has made great progress in bringing back the dignity of our people, women in particular and in improving their safety, health and hygiene.
As a country, we are committed to the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals and to attaining the targets set out in Vision 2030 of the National Development Plan.
Our priorities include access to safe water and dignified sanitation for all, environmentally sustainable solutions, economic opportunities within the sector to develop new innovations and solutions to achieve the latter objectives.
Our dialogue today thus seeks to reflect on the progress made thus far and to engage on the opportunities presented by our new Sanitation Policy to mobilise society along with business and other water sector partners towards advocacy, innovation, health and hygiene in the sanitation space.
Government remains committed to the ideals of dignified sanitation and universal access to sanitation by all, living in South Africa
This remains a challenge given migration and in-migration
The rise of informal settlements, as people search for economic opportunities needs to be planned for
In giving expression to dignified sanitation, the participation of women should be raised, from tap openers to equal partners as owners, manufacturers, distributors and managers
Integrated planning should be done with the support of communities and private sector partners
Integrated planning should occur on how to maintain a sanitary environment and women can play a key role
The disposal of waste should be seen as an opportunity and women should take up their role in this value chain
Planning should include the manufacturing and use of bio-degrable products, including degrable baby products and feminine hygiene products including disposable nappies, sanitary pads and other sanitary products
Sanitation education should be able more than mere end- user education
Enterprise development should take place, so that women can participate in the sector as tap manufacturers and not only tap openers
Education needs to look at our impact on our natural resources such as rivers, streams and other water eco-systems
Manufacturers and distributors should also assist end-users with the correct disposal of their products, so that waste water treatments works are not clogged by nappies and sanitary pads
The challenges of transformation plague both government and the private sector
Government needs to play a greater role in supporting women, young people and other designated groups
To this end, the Department of Water and Sanitation has established targets for preferential procurement and 30% of the budget for goods and services are allocated to designated groups in this financial year
We are also hosting preferential procurement workshops with designation groups so that black business knows how to do business with the department
More can be done and the department is reviewing its contracts management in the interest of designated groups.
Other opportunities that is being explored is how to we ensure that hygiene services such as liquid soap dispensers and she-bin services are performed by women owned companies
Products such as toilet paper and cleaning products are produced by medium enterprises and the Department of Water and Sanitation is moving towards greater support for such companies
Top structures and bottom structures for dry sanitation can be manufactured and supplied by women owned companies and the department is now looking enterprise development, as part of future contracting arrangements
The sanitation industry produces a large range of products, yet designated groups do not participate in the value chain
Sanitation products and equipment include top and bottom structures for toilets, pedestals, onsite sanitation such as portable toilets; accessories such as urinals, taps; refuge and recycling equipment and vehicles, including sweepers; domestic and industrial chemical cleaning equipment and products; engineering products like degreasers, penetrants and flushes; microbial solutions like water treatment products; odour control and deodorisers, feminine hygiene products including wipes, sanitary pads, tampons; and more.
Sanitation services such as the provision of cleaning products to government facilities, as well as baby products and feminine hygiene products to public clinics and hospital should be the starting point of creating opportunities for entrepreneurs from designated categories
Let me thank our partners and the participants in today's dialogue and commit to utilising the inputs and discussions that will emerge from this dialogue to further entrench the role of women in the sanitation space.
As we conclude this dialogue one hopes we will have identified concrete opportunities in new industries, innovative solutions, advocacy and educational programmes that ought to empower women and girl children on critical health and hygiene principles.
Local manufacturing should be viewed more optimistically in the interest of innovation and the sanitation revolution
Internationals needs to help with the establishment of local industries and local manufacturing
Government needs fundamental partnerships in the interest of enterprise development, in the sanitation industry
We are also calling on innovators to look into bio-degradable and organic products for the South African market, that will be less impactful on the environment
Waste management in the form of separation, grading, re-use and recycle of government waste can be a starting point and the development of an industry charter should be investigated in this regard