Government is the reason why South Africa’s water is drying up. This is the view of the environmental affairs division of civil rights group AfriForum.
“AfriForum warned the Department of Water Affairs in 2012 that – based on our knowledge and research – South Africa would face water shortages by 2015 and that proactive intervention was needed. It is clear – three years down the line – that our input was ignored by government, a government which is not fazed by the issues in the country, costing the economy millions,” says Julius Kleynhans, Head of Environmental Affairs at AfriForum.
AfriForum recently indicated that government is the biggest polluter of water in South Africa, as it’s discharging approximately 3 642 million litres of sewage effluent into our rivers and dams every day. That means that 74% of wastewater treatment facilities are unlawfully polluting the water resources of the country.
“The Department has proven its incompetence. It focusses only on enforcing the law against private industry and not against the majority of polluters: Government officials. We are finding ourselves in a water crisis due to bad management, bad policies, bad planning and once again, bad maintenance, while the little water left is ruthlessly polluted by government,” says Kleynhans.
AfriForum said that it has no faith that the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) is fit to fix South Africa’s water issues. The organisation will therefore deliver a motion of no confidence to the DWS on Thursday, on behalf of its more than 150 000 taxpaying members and other South Africans who support the motion.
“It is easy for wealthy government officials to open a bottle of ice cold water, while everyday South Africans do not have a drop of water. Some businesses had to close their doors or lose indispensable revenue because they need to implement water saving measures.”
“It looks like government blindly believes there will always be water. It’s the same principle when we speak about fruitless and wasteful expenditure. Government always says there is enough money. It’s time for us to fix all water issues with all that money,” Kleynhans says.
To join AfriForum, SMS “water” to 45354 and support AfriForum in its initiative to ensure the sustainable use and protection of our water resources. (R1/SMS)
• Those who agree with the motion can sign the petition here