Civil rights organisation AfriForum has launched its #CleanWater project for 2019, as part of the #AnchorTownRoadshow.

AriForum pledged that its branches countrywide are being mobilised to test the quality of drinking water and sewage water in all towns where there are active AfriForum branches.

“The government is not serious about the health of South Africans. This is clearly observed from the fact that the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) is not only bankrupt but is also facing a parliamentary investigation due to the mismanagement of former Minister Numvula Mokonyane.

“We can no longer trust the state to supply us with water that is safe and that is why we are testing the quality of the water ourselves,” says Lambert de Klerk, AfriForum’s Project Coordinator for Environmental Affairs.

The civil rights watchdog ensured that the drinking water quality of nearly 186 towns were up to standard last year.

“AfriForum will ensure that any pollution related problems will be solved as soon as possible by sending a letter of demand to the relevant municipality demanding that the problem be rectified within 48 hours,” adds De Klerk.

AfriForum said in a statement that it will furthermore send an official letter to Gugile Nkwinti, the new Minister of Water and Sanitation, wherein  they will demand that:

  1. The DWS will once again annually publish the official Blue and Green Drop Report to shed light on the country’s water quality and the management thereof.
  2. There will in 2019/2020 be budgeted for the repair of all waste water treatment plants
  3. A programme will be launched to hold water polluters responsible (the government is the biggest polluter: 4 200 megalitres of sewage that doesn’t comply with applicable health standards is spilled into rivers and dams on a daily basis)
  4. There will in 2019/2020 be budgeted for the repair of water infrastructure in the DWS’s war against water leakages (municipalities are losing more than 40% of their drinking water due to leaking water pipes)
  5. South Africans that are competent to manage the country’s water systems be appointed immediately
  6. The current organogram and structure of the DWS be revised to point out and scratch redundant posts and fill vacant posts
  7. Incompetent officials and those having a history of corrupt relationships be removed
  8. All investigations of the DWS that have been concluded be made public by the special investigative unit and independent consultation firms to ensure transparent processes.

AfriForum believes that the DWS doesn’t fulfill its obligations by enforcing legislation when municipal authorities are the guilty party.

Thus, think that an independent water regulator can still play a meaningful role in South Africa to improve water quality, water supply and water management.

“If South Africa has an independent water regulator that is not vulnerable to political interference and able to enforce water and service legislation, we would have less leakages, less public complaints and protest, cleaner rivers and dams, healthier communities, a growing economy and more water.”