The lack of proper toilets and sanitation has sparked protests and was a hot issue in the run-up to the local government elections.
Now a study by the Department of Performance, Monitoring and Evaluation in the Presidency has shown the extent of the crisis.
A provincial breakdown presented at Parliament last week showed that:
* In the Eastern Cape’s formal settlements, 829 274 households had adequate sanitation, while a total of 669 708 either did not have facilities at all, or had dilapidated systems. In informal settlements, 11 243 households had adequate facilities while 113 223 had none.
* In the Western Cape’s formal settlements there were 1 478 705 households with adequate facilities and 13 873 without. In informal settlements 209 921 households had adequate facilities and 8 934 did not.
* Gauteng registered 2 334 964 households with adequate facilities in formal settlements while 1 570 were without systems. In informal settlements there were 205 892 households with facilities and 143 917 without.
* Formal settlements in KwaZulu-Natal recorded 779 027 households with facilities but most – 917 608 households – either did not have facilities, or needed water resources and repairs. A total of 121 069 households in informal settlements had adequate facilities, while 12 937 had none at all.
* In the Northern Cape formal settlements had 196 661 households with services, while 63 748 households lacked satisfactory facilities or had none. In informal settlements 18 940 households had services and 5 992 were without.
* In the Free State, a total of 674 502 households in formal settlements had sufficient sanitation systems, but 502 056 households lacked proper facilities or had none. In informal settlements 8 770 households had adequate systems and 1 161 had no services
* Limpopo figures showed 591 697 households in formal settlements with adequate sanitation and a shocking 1 054 659 needing repairs, water or lacked any facilities at all. In informal settlements there were 2 965 households with facilities and 6 550 households without.
* In Mpumalanga, 583 210 households in formal settlements had sufficient facilities. A total of 440 918 had systems that did not work properly and some had none at all. In informal settlements, there were 5 539 households with adequate systems and 28 701 without.
* In North West 478 338 households in formal settlements had adequate sanitation compared to 637 799 without. Informal settlements recorded only 39 households with sufficient systems and 3 088 without.