During a joint virtual meeting of the parliamentary Portfolio Committees on Water and Sanitation and Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) earlier today, the Director-general of the Department of Water and Sanitation, Mbulelo Tshangana, admitted that municipalities across the country are contributing directly to the hikes in water tariffs.
Municipalities do not effectively manage their sewage waste and allow essential infrastructure to collapse and as a result, the country's natural water sources are polluted.
This places immense pressure on the respective water councils as they have to make use of additional and very expensive water purification methods to ensure that communities are supplied with safe drinking water. This is unsustainable and creates a vicious cycle, which means that ordinary water usage may become unaffordable.
The Department also admitted that no "blue-drop" or "green-drop" assessments have been conducted at municipalities since 2014. This assessment mechanism was implemented with the aim of monitoring water quality across the country and to ensure that municipalities manage and maintain their sewage and water infrastructure properly.
It included assessment reports for municipalities outlining improvements and corrections where needed. Thus, the government currently has no idea what the status or the quality of the water is that is being supplied to the people. The Department apparently aims to re-implement this mechanism in 2021.
All across South Africa water is a very scarce resource and this situation poses a real threat to the country and all its people. It is unacceptable.
The FF Plus is calling on the Department, the Minister and the government as a whole to make the conservation and the management of the country's valuable water sources a top priority. As matters stand, the country is headed for a disaster.
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