The Democratic Alliance (DA) will today write to the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) as several communities across KwaZulu-Natal face ‘day zero’ with no water.
The shortages, which have reached crisis level as a result of drought conditions, a lack of planning and maintenance as well as ageing infrastructure have led to people in parts of Northern KZN, Ugu, Himeville and surrounding areas and the Harry Gwala District not having running water for days on end.
The DA believes that KZN’s ANC-led CoGTA Department, under MEC Sipho Hlomuka, have a lot to answer for as these communities now find themselves in the midst of a human rights crisis. At best, he and his Department are simply incompetent. At worst, they do not care about the people they are meant to provide services to and are KZN’s latest human rights offenders.
KZN’s water issues are not new, yet there has been no urgency on the part of the Department when it comes to remedying the situation. That it is now scrambling to find solutions is an indictment against its so-called leadership, particularly when it has access to long-term forecasts in respect of weather patterns.
The DA has repeatedly warned about this looming disaster, through both provincial and local council channels. In 2016 we issued a statement calling on then CoGTA MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube to intervene. At the time the Harry Gwala District Municipality described our statement as ‘disingenuous and misleading’. Today, it would seem that municipality has been left with egg on their faces.
The Department telling the people of KZN to pray for rain is also unacceptable. MEC Hlomuka and his Department must also explain why the necessary due diligence has not been done to ensure that the people of our province do not have to face this ongoing challenge each year.
The buck stops with the MEC. He cannot simply throw his hands in the air and talk about climate change. With an inconsistent government water supply and rivers drying up, investment is also needed to ensure water-related infrastructure works reliably. The question is – what is MEC Hlomuka doing to encourage this?
The DA sincerely hopes that the SAHRC will prioritize this matter and implement strict resolutions aimed at the Department. In the interim, we remain committed to monitoring the situation on the ground in the interests of the people of our province.