National support needed to ensure delivery of water and sanitation services | Infrastructure news

Speaking on municipalities’ failure to deliver basic water and sanitation services, Deputy Minister of Water and Sanitation, Dikeledi Magadzi says municiplaities need to be engaged and assisted to ensure adherence to the national norms and standards.

Magadzi was speaking during the delivery of 2022/23 Budget Vote at the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) on 18 May 2022. The purpose of the Budget Vote was for the Ministry to outline the department’s key priorities and budget allocations for the current financial year.

Magadzi also pointed out that the distribution of water and sanitation services or reticulation and the treatment of wastewater is the direct responsibility of municipalities.

She added that this is proving to be a great challenge and the department remains ultimately responsible for water availability and security.

‘’In our extensive travels around South Africa during ministerial working sessions over the last nine months, we have seen firsthand the state of municipal water and sanitation services. In many areas, we met people who are still waiting to get potable water supply”, Deputy Minister stated.

Magadzi highlighted that they have seen many municipalities, where projects run into the 10th year with distribution pipes installed, but there is no water in the taps, or the water coming out of the taps is not drinkable.

In some areas, women and children are still walking to the nearest stream where the water is not safe to drink, and risk being attacked by crocodiles and criminals while trying to source water.

On the issues of pollution, spillages, and sewer running to the streets and ultimately into people’s houses, Magadzi indicated that the Ministry is prioritising this matter and moving from Province to Province to work with municipalities or intervene through Section 63 to assist.

“While the Constitution gives the responsibility for providing water and sanitation services to municipalities, it also requires that national government supports municipalities, and that national government intervenes where there is failure’’ Magadzi said.

Furthermore, Deputy Minister Magadzi announced that as they strengthen their support and intervention role at a municipal level, they will also planning on the following:

  • Not neglect their core responsibilities of developing the national water resources.
  • They are paying close attention to accelerating the planning and implementation of key water resource augmentation projects around the country.
  • To support the municipalities to develop and refurbish municipal water and sanitation bulk distribution infrastructure, through the Regional Bulk Infrastructure Grant (RBIG) and Water Services Infrastructure Grant, (WISG).
Magadzi further stressed that the national government is obligated to support and intervene at the municipal level and must therefore take responsibility for the decline in water and sanitation services at the municipal level.

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