DA challenges Minister Molewa to drink Carolina water
Marti Wenger, Shadow Deputy Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs
16 July 2012
The Gert Sibande District Municipality has failed to comply with the North Gauteng High Court’s order to supply residents of Carolina with potable drinking water by Friday morning last week. It has filed an application for leave to appeal against the ruling.
And, contrary to Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa’s claim that the water was now safe to drink, two legal entities have reported that the situation in the town is worsening. The Federation for a Sustainable Environment yesterday also reported that there was still no potable water in the town. How can the Minister explain this contradiction?
The DA challenges Minister Molewa to put her money where her mouth is and go to Carolina and Silobela to drink the water from the taps. Her faith in the audit samples she spoke of must be put to the test.
Human dignity is being violated in the town and its surrounding townships while the collective water governance failure continues. I visited the area two weeks ago and was appalled at the apparent disdain with which the municipal authorities were attempting to deal with the water supply problems.
In the wake of the court ruling, we cautioned that it was not clear that any of the structural issues contributing to water delivery failure had been adequately addressed. For instance, even when the water supply becomes safe to drink at its source, this doesn’t address the problem that sedimentation in the pipes continues to contaminate the water. Furthermore, the purification plant can only cater for 3.5 megalitres of water per day whilst the demand is between 5 and 6 megalitres.
Carolina, along with Caropark and Silobela townships, has gone without drinking water for six months. This is six months too long. It is time for government to take the problem seriously.
This starts with self-sacrificial leadership in the genuine interest of serving South Africa’s citizens, who have a constitutionally enshrined progressive right to potable water. Minister Molewa should model this kind of leadership by being the first to drink the water she so boldly proclaimed was safe to drink.