Access to clean water in South Africa a subject of protests

Access to clean drinking water in South Africa has been the subject of service delivery protests and even court action. For some communities, having permanent access to the resource has become a luxury.
south africa service delivery, waterUnhappiness with the pace of delivery has seen many communities resort to service delivery protests. Municipalities blame a lack of resources and capacity.

In Ermelo (Mpumalanga), residents have been without a regular water supply for a month. Ermelo Business Association’s Athol Stark says: “You find a situation where hotels and guest houses are fully booked, but then by 6 or 7 or 8pm in the evening all the guests book out and are angry as well, just based on the fact that there is no water.”

Resident Lucky Scheepers says: “I think we have been taken for granted, having raised our concerns regarding water as from approximately 20 years having this problem. So now I cannot figure out how is this impossible for the municipality not to sort out this problem.”

“In a space of 18-years what can a new democracy do because money is not just available.”

Authorities believe some strides have been made.  Mpumalanga Premier, David Mabuza says: “In a space of 18 years what can a new democracy do because money is not just available. Our needs as people are more than what we have in terms of money.”

Government is also urging water conservation. A Water Resource Strategy document has been developed. Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa says: “We have to ensure that it is not only the agricultural sector that is allocated water as compared to the previous strategy but, everybody else has equitable access to water. Ordinary communities who do not have water are now in this new strategy proposed to have equitable allocation as well as the poor farmers who were never part of the commercial agriculture previously but also the new industry that grows.”

It is hoped the new strategy will ease the pressure and demand for this precious resource.

Source: South African Broadcasting Corporation

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