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The Democratic Alliance (DA) in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) welcomes the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) public hearings currently taking place on the state of water provision in the province.
The hearings, which take place this week in Durban, come after the Commission received 600 complaints regarding water supply in the province. The inquiry will ultimately determine whether water service authorities violated residents’ rights to access clean drinking water.
In particular, the DA welcomes the fact that newly-elected Premier, Nomusa Dube-Ncube will appear before the Commission. It should be remembered that this is the very same individual who tore up a petition from the people of Ugu - regarding their ongoing water crisis - during a Legislature Sitting in 2017. This while she was COGTA MEC in the province.
Then there is the testimony by KZN’s new COGTA MEC, Sihle Zikalala during yesterday’s hearing. Listening to the MEC, one would think that our province is only experiencing minor water issues, with solutions around the corner.
This while the reality is that water provision in KZN is in a terrible state and - in the words of the Commissioners, is only getting worse. They have further acknowledged that the crisis is now five years in the making.
As the former Premier, MEC Zikalala cannot try to hide behind the fact that he is new in his MEC role. A vast amount of the deterioration happened under his watch as Premier and the truth is that the buck stops with him.
It is due to his ANC government’s inaction that;
- Ugu residents are still without water more often than not
- The community of Tongaat has now been without water for 127 days, with no real progress noted and;
- That the number of dysfunctional Waste Water Treatment plants in our province grew from 15 in 2015 to 50 in 2022.
Despite his obvious role in this crisis, all we heard from the MEC was a lot of hot air, amid praise for his government's brilliant plans – plans that mean nothing if the water is not flowing.
The DA will continue to attend and represent KZN’s people at these important hearings. We sincerely hope that through this process and their recommendations, the SAHRC will come to the aid of KZN’s people who are desperately calling out for water.
Issued by Martin Meyer, MPL - DA KZN Spokesperson on CoGTA