In a bid to enhance the service delivery of water and sanitation in the country, the Minister of Water and Sanitation, Senzo Mchunu said the country’s water boards are to be reviewed.Mchunu made the announcement on the last day of the Northern Cape leg of the Provincial Working Sessions. Mchunu and Deputy Ministers David Mahlobo and Dikeledi Magadzi met with the DWS Provincial officials and provincial government, Water Services Authority and Water Users Associations during the three-day Ministerial working session. Minister Mchunu says the decision to look at the functionality of the water boards is also to ensure a continued and close partnership with municipalities as Water Service Authorities. The first to be reviewed will be Sedibeng Water Board, which the department has bailed out on two occasions in the recent past. “We want to first see how deep our leg and make decisions that will ensure that the leg does not get any deeper. We have to try and dig the leg out. To this effect and to heed the call we will urgently review the boards,” Mchunu said. “It is all about our calculations and looking for an effective turnaround with regards to our main challenge, that of delivering water to households”. Mchunu says the idea is also to have waterboards playing a central role with regards to municipality delivering services.
“Municipalities complained that they do not have capacity to deliver water and sanitation services, but they want to”.Mchunu emphasised that although South Africa is a water scarce country, the biggest challenge facing the sector is to deliver water to households. “If there is a time to deliver water to households it is 2022 and we are taking steps towards that. We are also reviewing our own legislation in terms of empowering us and making intervention – down to the ground – to make sure the water gets delivered,” Mchunu expanded. Mchunu also noted that the balance of equity between water and sanitation was not reached. “All along we have not been focusing equally on sanitation as we have been doing in water and now sanitation needs to be upgraded in terms of our attention. “The main thing is to bring water to households and then in the process you are able to deal with matters of sanitation,” Minister Mchunu said. Minister Mchunu says the ministry is currently working on a sanitation framework for the country. “At the moment anything in the form of sanitation is apparently doable. We don’t commonly have adopted norms and standards that everybody must adhere to and that will be the content of the sanitation framework. We can’t go on taking sewer in residential areas for granted,” he added.