Ugu water crisis: DA to approach international advocacy groups as KZN government fails to help residents

Issued by Chris Pappas MPL – DA KZN Spokesperson on CoGTA
06 Apr 2021 in Press Statements

The DA in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) has today written to several international advocacy groups, including United Nations Water and Amnesty International, in order to raise the human rights and constitutional issues relating to the ongoing lack of water supply to residents within the Ugu District.

The decision comes after KZN’s ANC-led government failed to meet the 14-day deadline to respond to the DA’s requests for an urgent multiparty regional stakeholder meeting, to include political parties and those affected by government’s failure to provide water to the people of Ugu in accordance with the Constitution.

The DA’s request was made in writing to both Premier, Sihle Zikalala and his Co-operative Governance MEC, Sipho Hlomuka – with a warning and final demand for real intervention. The letter was also sent to the National CoGTA Minister, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.

The Premier and MEC Hlomuka’s blatant disregard for the DA’s correspondence is further evidence that the current government has no intention of working across party lines and with affected stakeholders to resolve the challenges caused by its policies and governance. This has also been made clear by provincial government’s failure to consider the many solutions proposed by the DA over the years.

While the DA notes the MEC’s recent visit to the Ugu District following days of unrest due to service delivery failures, we also note his inability to provide details on interventions to resolve the crisis. In addition, none of his interventions are new, bar the announcement of the municipality commencing a “water shedding” schedule. This just further highlights the complete failure of both the MEC and district municipality.

Regrettably, his plans were also either very long term or did not address the root of the current problem. It is not sustainable – financially or practically – to use water tankers as a solution to the water problems. In addition to this, the issue of the Ugu water crisis is not only a matter of the availability of fresh water but also one of extraction, purification, treatment of water and the reticulation to residents.

The DA does not believe that either the provincial or national government are taking this problem as seriously as they should be and that they lack the political will power to take the necessary steps to solve the challenges that have been impeding the constitutional rights of Ugu residents for some seven years.

It is for this reason that the DA has taken the decision to reach beyond South Africa’s borders and raise the human rights and constitutional issues relating to the supply of water in the Ugu District and has written to the following advocacy groups to bring their attention to the problem;

  1. United Nations Water
  2. The Water Project
  3. Stockholm International Water Institute
  4. The World Bank
  5. The World Water Council
  7. Water Is Life
  8. Amnesty International and;
  9. United Nations Human Rights Commission

In addition to the above-mentioned step, the DA has also been engaging with civic bodies and communities in order to form a united voice against government’s inaction. The talks are well advanced and collective action steps will be outlined in the coming weeks.

We welcome that organisations and communities are looking beyond political lines to work together to tackle governments failures. Much more could be achieved if government did not regard residents or the DA as opponents or “cash cows” but rather as partners.

The DA remains committed to fighting for the rights of Ugu’s people. We will not stop until there is a funded plan of action and solutions to the problems in place.