Johannesburg - Some 272,995 bucket toilet systems are still being operated by municipalities, Co-operative Governance Minister Richard Baloyi said on Thursday.
"There was a time I thought the bucket system was gone... that it had exited our space, but this number came out when we were assessing the state of sanitation," Baloyi said in Kempton Park.
He was speaking at a conference on municipal audit outcomes, attended by mayors, municipal managers, heads of provincial departments, and Auditor-General Terence Nombembe.
Baloyi did not say which municipalities still operated the bucket system.
He said a breakdown of provinces showed that the system had even been formalised in some areas, and that there were areas where there was not even a record of a toilet in a community.
"That state of affairs indicates that people in those communities still use the nearest bushes to relieve themselves," Baloyi said.
"This is the true state of the lack of sanitation in some parts of our country."
Earlier, Baloyi said his department would soon release a report on the state of municipalities.
"It is imperative that the report indicates and shows what is being done to address sanitation issues, such as the bucket system," he said.