South Africa: Today, 14 March 2023, the Premier of the Free State province – Honourable Mxolisi Dukwana, convened the leadership collectives of various municipalities across the province, which is currently facing water challenges.
The Premier said the state was seized with a massive responsibility to ensure water security in the province. Failure to provide this basic right as enshrined in chapter 2 of the Constitution, which states: “Everyone has the right to sufficient …water,” will display regression.
This often leads to service delivery protests, which are sometimes violent. Premier Dukwana further said that, with water being a scarce resource, there was a need to ensure that available water is jealously reserved for the benefit of the people. According to the Department of Water and Sanitation, some of the challenges identified as lead causes of insufficient water include leakages and old infrastructure which has not been serviced and maintained in a long time.
Criminality has also been cited as one of the main reasons for the unavailability of water in most communities, as rogue elements often steal infrastructure, which in turn, affects communities.
Premier Dukwana also said the reason for flare-ups in several communities, owing to water shortages, was a result of failure by municipalities to properly communicate with residents and further urged mayors to be bold and courageous in addressing challenges faced by communities.
Eight municipalities deemed to be experiencing acute challenges in regard to the provision of water were present at the meeting. These are: Maluti – a – Phofung, Kopanong, Masilonyana, Matjhabeng, Ngwathe, Letsemeng and Mafube local municipalities.
Mangaung Metropolitan municipality was also represented. The municipalities pledged to implement solutions in the interim to address challenges they are faced with, such as the drilling of boreholes and the construction of water pipes.
Meanwhile, long-term interventions, such as upgrading water treatment works, are being undertaken. It was further agreed that municipalities must play a leading role in resolving challenges that they are faced with for the benefit of the people.
The Premier said that communities must be constantly informed about water challenges to eradicate the deficit of trust between the people and the government. Also present at the meeting were: MECs Gadija Brown and Tshidi Koloi, as well as the Director-General of the Free State Provincial Government – Kopung Ralikontsane.