The civil rights organisation AfriForum submitted a petition to Parliament in a desperate call for action regarding the water crisis in South Africa.
“We submitted a petition to Parliament requesting Ms. Baleka Mbete, the Speaker of the National Assembly, to appoint an ad hoc parliamentary committee to investigate the water crisis, the Department of Water and Sanitation’s (DWS’s) performance, and the Minister of Water and Sanitations’ fitness to serve as Minister of this essential department as the custodian and regulator of this critical resource,” said Julius Kleynhans, Head of Environmental Affairs at AfriForum.
AfriForum presented a critical fact sheet that emphasises the organisation’s grave concerns about the handling of the escalating water crisis by the DWS, its minister and her department. It also calls for drastic change and action. Click here for the critical fact sheet.
“We are extremely concerned about the poor management and enforcement by the water regulator, that has now put the whole country at risk due to the lack in supply and quality of water resources,” Kleynhans added.
The main points that are emphasised in the fact sheet topics are the following:
1. South Africa did not meet the Millennium Development Goal target for sanitation;
2. South Africa is unprepared for the new Sustainable Development Goals;
3. The DWS reported massive under-spending of its budget;
4. The worrying report by the Auditor General;
5. Concerns about the quality of drinking water and the DWS’s inefficiency as the regulator of water services;
6. Growing unreliability of water supplies;
7. Widespread public dissatisfaction with water services;
8. Insufficient planning and adaptation plans for droughts;
9. National water resource infrastructure desperately needs a National Infrastructure Agency;
10. Protection of water resources from pollution and over-abstraction;
11. Municipal Wastewater Treatment Works in crisis;
12. Insufficient progress to curtail water demand and reduce water losses; and
13. Huge economic, health and social implications of the water crisis not recognised.
AfriForum said that an independent water regulator can still play a significant role in South Africa, possibly even changing the face of water quality and supply, as well as its management in the country.
“If we had an independent authority that wasn’t steered by politics but by the enforcement of our water and services law, we would have seen less leaks, less public complaints and protests, cleaner rivers and dams, healthier communities, a growing economy and more water,” Kleynhans concluded.
SMS the name of your town to 45354 to join AfriForum in its initiative to ensure the sustainable use and protection of our water resources (R1/SMS).