The Portfolio Committee on Water and Sanitation has resolved to give the departments of Water and Sanitation and of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) 14 days to respond and find solutions to the water shortages in Rustenburg in the North West and Warrenton in the Northern Cape. The committee today received two petitions on water shortages in these two areas and agreed that while the committee is dealing with them, there is a need for a broader discussion on solutions to water shortages in many areas in the country.
“Petitions are an important tool to ensure oversight and the committee will use these petitions to seeks answers from all spheres of government that are constitutionally mandated to provide quality water to the people of South Africa. We will thus send the petitions to the Department of Water and Sanitation and the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs to get answers for the residents of those areas,” said Mr Robert Mashego, the Chairperson of the committee.
The committee highlighted that there remains a concerning gap within the water value chain, with some stakeholders such as municipalities failing to deliver on their mandate. The decision to include the Department of Cooperative Governance in solving water shortages is to ensure that there is joint accountability and that all stakeholders contribute, as per their mandate, to resolve this challenge. Also, the committee highlighted that the District Development Model, which seeks to integrate planning and delivery of services, should be exploited by all spheres of government to ensure collaboration in the delivery of quality services.
In addressing the petitions directly, the committee highlighted that the responses to be submitted to the committee must include how grants, such as the Municipal Infrastructure Grant, have been spent in those areas to address inadequate infrastructure, maintenance of existing infrastructure and availability of bulk services. This information will assist the committee to assess where the problems lie and to find lasting solutions to the challenges raised.
The committee remains of the view that the availability of water is a critical enabler in overcoming many socio-economic challenges. “The lack of water is negatively impacting the ability of citizens to reach their full potential. Also, quality water is necessary to unlock economic activities in many areas that are struggling under the pressure of poverty and unemployment,” Mr Mashego emphasised.
Meanwhile, the committee has committed to the petitioners that it intends getting answers to their plight before the end of the sixth parliamentary term. “We have heard you and will work towards finding you the necessary answers,” Mr Mashego concluded.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Republic of South Africa: The Parliament.