SA’s Water and Sanitation crisis is a crime against humanity

Issued by Nicholas Myburgh MP – DA Member of the Portfolio Committee on Water and Sanitation
06 Dec 2023 in News

Please find attached a soundbite by Nicholas Myburgh MP.

The latest Green and Blue Drop Reports released yesterday confirm our worst fears about the devastating consequences of the ANC’s policy of Cadre Deployment. It is crystal clear that a massive failure in water and sanitation services is being manifested in most parts of South Africa.

For years now the DA has warned the government about the rapidly deteriorating condition of wastewater treatment facilities (WWTF) and water treatment plants across the country. Industry experts, environmentalists, health practitioners, and economists have all raised their growing concerns about the devastating effect this has on the health and economic prospects of our people, and the irreversible damage that is being inflicted upon the environment.

Just as the government was warned way back in 1998 about the looming electricity crisis, so the DA and many others have consistently pleaded with the government for the past 10 years to take effective measures to avert a water and sanitation crisis potentially more devastating than the Eskom disaster.

There is no joy in seeing how the ANC is failing to rise to the challenge of providing safe drinking water and sanitation services in precisely the same way that they have been unable to rectify the energy crisis that they have created.

With almost 50% of drinking water systems classified as “unsafe” the risk of life-threatening diseases such as cholera and chronic diarrhea has risen sharply. It, therefore, comes as no surprise that the World Bank has identified water as one of the three biggest risks for doing business in SA. Divestment will continue and much-needed foreign direct investment will stay away.

In addition, nearly two-thirds of the country’s WWTFs are now discharging partially treated or raw sewage into waterways and the environment. This further exacerbates the depletion of critically important water resources, wreaks havoc in complex ecosystems, and amplifies the appalling living conditions of mostly poor neighbourhoods.

The escalating water and sanitation crisis, as illustrated by the latest Blue and Green Drop Reports, is the direct result of poor governance, financial mismanagement, and widespread corruption brought about by the ANC’s policy of Cadre Deployment applied in every structure or entity where they govern. Whilst the government acknowledges these failures they remain impotent in solving them. The defeatist response by the beleaguered Minister of Water and Sanitation came in the understatement of the century when he simply said “It is not pretty”!

With DA-governed municipalities once again outperforming all others in their management of water and sanitation services as well as the all-important field of revenue collection, the electorate remains the key change-maker in restoring standards and improving livelihoods. Services will only improve by electing competent politicians and appointing fit-for-purpose officials.

We repeat our appeal to the Minister of Water and Sanitation to unleash the full might of the law in bringing to book those Mayors and Municipal Managers who are criminally responsible for the unprecedented failure to provide the life and dignity to our people inherent in proper water and sanitation services.

The accompanying suffering and deprivation is nothing but a crime against humanity!

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