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South Africa’s water-ship is heading for disaster

The issue of water purification and provision in South Africa is, like the Titanic, heading for a disastrous collision with an iceberg while numerous unregistered Cuban engineers are helping to hold the steering wheel.

The spotlight once again fell on the country's current water crisis with the Blue and Green Drop reports on the state of the country's water, which were recently issued.

However, nothing is being done to rectify the problems that have been well documented and known for many years.

As is the case with all problems and decay in South Africa, the root cause lies in the ANC's policy of cadre deployment and the consequent incompetence, corruption and mismanagement.

The reports, which have just been issued, found among other things that 41% of all supervisors and 40% of all process managers at treatment plants are unqualified.

In addition, numerous people in other positions have been appointed on levels for which they are not qualified; this is a clear indication of fraud. Unregistered engineers have been appointed and ordinary technicians act as engineers.

Numerous engineers, technicians, technologists and scientists are unable to provide proof of their qualifications and in many cases, qualifications are misrepresented.

After 37 Cuban engineers were brought to South Africa in 2015, an additional 24 were brought in about two years ago. According to the government, this was done in an effort to help resolve the country's water problems.

It is clearly not achieving the desired effect and the last group of 24 is costing taxpayers R64 million over three years.

Meanwhile, there are more than a 1000 local, registered civil engineers in South Africa who are unemployed, according to the South African Institution of Civil Engineering.

Concerning operational functionality, a staggering 62% of all water purification plants in the country are currently dysfunctional and it will cost more than R8 billion just to bring them to a fully functional level.

A shocking 98% of all authorities in control of these plants were unable to provide any information about their systems' pipelines.

This is but the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the country's water problems as outlined in the two reports.

The Blue Drop Report determines the condition of potable water purification plants and the level of municipalities' ability to supply drinking water that meets the national health standards.

The Green Drop Report indicates the condition and functionality of municipalities' wastewater purification plants and how clean the water is before it is fed back into the natural water system.

The technology needed to adhere to these standards by cleaning water sufficiently so that it is safe to drink and return to the natural environment is very expensive and involves a process that requires high levels of technical expertise.

It requires trained personnel, like engineers with high levels of subject-specific knowledge and specialist plant operators, and advanced equipment.

The Water Research Commission identified poor and / or insufficient wastewater treatment as one of the biggest causes of water pollution in South Africa as far back as 2016 already.

This correlates directly with increasing failure to adhere to national water legislation. A lack of expertise, incompetence and poor management were also identified as some of the main causes at the time.

It is clear that in the interim nothing was done and nothing is being done to avert the crisis. In fact, the situation with the Cuban engineers and the general escalation of the water crisis indicate the exact opposite.

It is becoming increasingly obvious that the ANC government must be replaced as soon as possible to save South Africa from utter ruin. The longer this government remains in power, the closer we get to the iceberg.

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