The Non-Financial Census report released last week by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) showed that municipalities in Limpopo were not doing enough to provide free basic services. This report which is released annually, measures certain aspects of service delivery within municipalities, and analyzes these services provided by the municipalities including water, electricity, solid waste management and sewerage and sanitation.

Limpopo, according to the report, currently has 306 979 indigent households identified by the municipalities in the province. The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the province this week expressed their serious concern over the numbers in the report which indicated the communities were being let down by the municipalities they elected to provide for them.

“Out of the identified indigent households only 143 544 in terms of water, 108 148 in terms of electricity, 60 372 in terms of sewerage and sanitation and 48 839 in terms of solid waste management benefit from an indigent support,” said Jacques Smalle, DA Provincial spokesperson of COGHSTA. “In terms of free basic water provided, 10.6 % of consumers receiving water services, received free basic water services.”

Limpopo ranks lowest in terms of free basic electricity as well as free basic sewerage and sanitation provided. Just 7.1% of consumers receiving electricity services, received free basic electricity services while only 7.2% of consumers receiving sewerage and sanitation, received free basic sewerage and sanitation from Limpopo’s municipalities.

“It is also disappointing that the report showed that very few municipalities provide free basic services even though 26 of the province’s 27 municipalities have policies in place for the provision of free basic services.”

The number of municipalities that have implemented the policy relating to the provision of free basic services are 10 municipalities in terms of water, 22 municipalities in terms of electricity, nine municipalities in terms of sewerage and sanitation and 16 municipalities in terms of solid waste management.

“The Stats SA report showed that the Limpopo government has so far failed, and needs to dedicate more resources and effort into increasing capacity and ensuring that the services rendered by municipalities benefit the poorest members of our society that cannot afford to pay for them.”