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The detection of cholera in the Vaal River this week and the systematic collapse of water treatment facilities countrywide are symptoms of a looming national crisis. The confirmation of contaminated water samples in the Vaal River, including the presence of cholera and E. coli, is a clear indication of the dire state of our water infrastructure.
The DA condemns the lack of intervention by the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) despite years of warnings and calls for urgent action. The DA stands ready to work with role players across the country and if ever there was a need for a whole of society approach, this is it.
We call on the DWS to address the critical issue of water contamination in the Vaal River. The health and well-being of our citizens are at stake, and it is imperative that immediate steps are taken to ensure the provision of clean and safe drinking water. The DA stands ready to support any efforts to resolve this crisis and protect the lives of our fellow South Africans.
The DA has written to Minister and submitted questions on this crisis that need not only answers but action as well. South Africans deserve to know how widespread this cholera crisis is, how it is impacting on safe drinking water and what the department will proactively do to address the crisis.
This Government needs to move away from task teams and commissions of inquiries to actually doing its job on the ground where the real South Africans live.
With this in mind, the DA will also launch an urgent and countrywide oversight of all water treatment plants. Initial investigation shows that less than 10% are operating optimally. Over 50% are either medium risk, high risk or critical. Only 9% of water supply systems have comprehensive Water Safety Plans with all required components.
The DA is committed to holding the relevant government officials accountable for their failure to act promptly and effectively. We will continue to advocate for the rights of our citizens to have access to clean and safe drinking water. This crisis serves as a stark reminder of the urgent need for competent and accountable governance in our country.
It is abundantly clear that the ANC government is unable to provide the basic services that South Africans deserve as evidenced by the lack of a sustainable and reliable supply of clean drinking water, the economy crippling loadshedding and the cost of living spiralling out of control.
The DA will continue to fight for the rights and well-being of our citizens, and we will not rest until the critical collapse of the countries water infrastructure is given the urgent attention it needs.
Issued by Leon Basson MP - DA Shadow Minister of Water and Sanitation