GP Water Crisis: A sad story of Government dereliction
27 September 2014
Note to Editors: These are remarks made by the DA Parliamentary Leader during an oversight visit to Tsakane and Germiston, to assess the Gauteng Water Crisis.
Today the people of Gauteng have expressed their outrage and their disappointment in government to me.
But most of all, they have expressed their fear that this crisis is a sign of things to come from a government which has left our people behind.
In every metropolitan area of Gauteng, for sporadic periods, water has been denied to the people.
Our fundamental human right to have access to water is being denied by this government.
Houses, schools, hospitals, clinics, businesses, industries and old ages homes have been left dry. This is absolutely unacceptable.
And when businesses are left for days without water they are crippled, cannot succeed, they cannot grow, and crucially, they cannot create jobs.
And this has not snuck up on government like a big surprise out of nowhere. Government has known that this water crisis was coming.
In 2011, some three years ago, a member of the National Planning Commission addressed the South African Water and Energy Forum and told government and all delegates that a major water crisis was looming. Professor Mike Muller stated in 2011 that the City of Johannesburg, eThekwini and Nelson Mandela Bay would be among the first to feel the effects.
Now Professor Muller’s forecast is a reality. And it is the government which has not prevented it from happening.
Part of the problem is that the government chose to prioritise the e-toll roads, so they can make money, rather than maintain and upgrade water and electricity infrastructure, which are failing.
The ANC would rather deploy its cadres, than hire skilled personnel resulting in an infrastructure backlog; what’s worse is that the existing infrastructure is failing, hence the crisis we face today.
Due to broken infrastructure, Rand Water loses approximately 30% of its water before it even gets to your taps.
September also marks Public Service Month, where the government is reminded of their duty to serve communities, but this water crisis has shown that the government is doing a disservice to communities like this.
We now face an Eskom-like crisis in the delivery of water by Rand Water. We answers and we need solutions.
But what is worse; when we call for answers from this ANC government, they run away.
Just like they run away from the opposition in Parliament, they also run away from the people who sit today with no water after days and days.
Minister Nomvula Mokonyane was supposed to be here to meet this community at Kempton Park on 25 September. But she ran away, and provided no answers.
Minister Mokonanye was supposed to report to Parliament this week on the crisis. But she ran away, and provided no answers.
Minister Mokonyane did nothing about the looming water crisis when she was Premier of Gauteng; now that she is Water and Sanitation Minister, she is still doing nothing.
The ANC today is intent on running away from problems, rather than solving them.
And when they can’t run away anymore, they have an Nkandla Committee and they sit in that committee to use it to block the real accountability, and to let politicians off the hook.
So today we make the call to Premier David Makhura of Gauteng: immediately establish a full commission of inquiry into this massive failure of government in Gauteng.
We must never see such a water crisis again.
The ANC must own up to its failures, and must stop running away from problems.
Issued by the DA, September 27 2014
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