Fellow South Africans,
In this version of Forethought, I’d like to address a pressing issue that threatens the very fabric of our nation, South Africa – our impending water crisis.
Just as we were confronted with the infamous load shedding debacle, we now find ourselves on a treacherous path towards another crisis, one that demands our immediate attention and resolute action.
The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) is deeply concerned about the growing water crisis in our beloved country, a crisis that is no longer looming on the horizon but is already upon us, knocking at our doors.
Like load shedding, the water crisis has not emerged overnight. It has been allowed to fester and worsen over the years, due to a lack of proactive planning, inadequate investment, and mismanagement. It is a situation that, if left unattended, can have severe and far-reaching consequences for South Africa.
The Widespread Impact of the Water Crisis
The consequences of a water crisis are far-reaching and devastating. It is not limited to any specific region; it affects the daily lives of all South Africans.
It strikes at the heart of our access to clean drinking water, sanitation, and public health. It undermines our economic growth, job creation, and industrial productivity – all of which are essential for a nation striving to overcome poverty and unemployment. It even endangers our environment and biodiversity, as many ecosystems depend on a steady supply of water to thrive.
As I write this today, places like Hammanskraal, Johannesburg, eThekwini, and numerous other regions across our nation continue to grapple with persistent water crises. These challenges encompass various issues, including water shortages, infrastructure problems, and water quality concerns. The interim Blue Drop Watch Report for 2023 has shed light on the state of South Africa’s drinking water, and the findings are nothing short of alarming.
From the 151 water systems sampled, the report reveals that a staggering 71% of these systems are non-compliant with chemical standards, highlighting the widespread challenges in maintaining water quality.
Additionally, 51% of the water systems showed poor or bad microbiological findings, emphasising the precarious state of the country’s drinking water. These findings underscore the pressing need for comprehensive efforts to address water quality issues and ensure that the population has access to safe and clean drinking water, which is vital for public health and wellbeing.
The IFP’s Call to Action
In light of this dire situation, the IFP calls upon the government to take immediate and decisive action to address the water crisis. It is our collective responsibility to ensure that this crisis does not follow in the footsteps of load shedding. We must learn from past mistakes and act proactively to safeguard our nation’s most precious resource – water.
We emphasise the following key actions that must be taken to mitigate the crisis and secure our nation’s water future:
- Investment in Infrastructure: We need a comprehensive overhaul and expansion of our water infrastructure, including dams, treatment plants, and distribution networks. This investment should be a national priority, and it should be executed efficiently.
- Effective Management: Government entities responsible for water resources must be well-managed and free from corruption. Transparency and accountability are non-negotiable. The mismanagement of our water resources is a luxury we can no longer afford.
- Conservation and Sustainability: South Africa should prioritise water conservation, sustainable usage, and responsible management practices. It is essential to ensure that our water resources are used wisely for the benefit of all, both now and in the future.
- Diversification of Sources: Relying on a single source of water, such as rain-dependent reservoirs, is a recipe for disaster. We must diversify our water sources through desalination, groundwater management, and water recycling. Diversification will enhance our resilience in the face of climate change and ensure a consistent water supply.
In conclusion, the parallels between load shedding and the water crisis are stark, and we cannot afford to repeat the mistakes of the past.
South Africa’s future depends on our ability to ensure access to clean, reliable water for all its citizens. It is time for action, not empty promises, and it is time to secure our nation’s water future.
Let us stand united in addressing this crisis, for the sake of our people, our environment, and our nation’s prosperity. The time to act is now. Thank you.
Velenkosini Hlabisa, MP
President, Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP)
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