Hon. X Ngwezi, MP
23 July 2020
Honourable Members, the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the urgency of ensuring access to safe water and sanitation, especially in rural areas of our country.
There is an increase in water demand for Covid-19 specific sanitation and yet we face the reality of water scarcity in many provinces. Government’s own recommendation is to wash our hands for 20 seconds, yet people in some areas do not even have water.
We therefore need to ensure water management for a sustainable future is at the forefront of our agenda now. Water is our life and we must demand accountability, transparency and good governance, so that every person in South Africa has access to clean and affordable water.
Every effort must be made to ensure that the provision of water tanks to address water demand is not a permanent solution. Where water tanks have been placed for temporary use, there needs to be water delivered to fill them up, otherwise they are of no use to the people and just become empty containers. Therefore, the IFP will stringently monitor the Department’s commitment that the reallocation of R1.48 billion will also be used to implement water source development.
Honourable Members, we need to reinforce a high standard of good governance and service-delivery in this sector. Water delivery, above all, needs to be managed by those who are able to be held accountable, so that we may ensure at minimum we deliver on basic human and constitutional rights.
This Department has a terrible governance record, and the IFP fully supported the Standing Committee on Public Accounts’ (SCOPA) announcement in June that a full parliamentary inquiry should be conducted into the affairs of the Department. This followed after the Auditor-General’s latest findings, which highlighted the alarming extent of irregular and wasteful expenditure in this Department.
Honourable Members, we cannot sit back and allow these critical public resources to be squandered.
The IFP recently demanded that Premier Sihle Zikalala investigate the furore surrounding the procurement process of the water supply tender allocation between WSSA and uMngeni Water in King Cetshwayo District Municipality. This was after the water supply to the community was abruptly cut, prompting a huge outcry and protest action. The IFP is pleased that Minister Sisulu has some taken action and mandated the water boards to assist Municipalities that are Water Service Authorities to deliver water and related services to communities.
In conclusion, the IFP is committed to carefully monitoring the performance of this Department and will not hesitate to demand accountability.
On consideration of the Supplementary Budget and revised targets of the Department of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation, the IFP in general supports the budgetary adjustments.
I thank you.
Hon. X Ngwezi, MP
076 975 5555