17 January 2019

South Africa: Water and Sanitation Must Put Measures to Prevent Further Loss of Life in Giyani

Photo: Supplied
The trench that was left incomplete at the Giyani Bulk Water Project.
press release

Parliament — The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Water and Sanitation, Mr Mlungisi Johnson, has called for urgent measures to prevent any further loss of life caused by open manholes and trenches in Giyani and other parts of SA.

This follows the drowning of Nsuku Mhlongo of Homu Village in Giyani who drowned in a trench left open following the cessation of work at Giyani Bulk Water Project.

The drowning is a reminder of the injustice that has been inflicted on the people of Giyani, who should have benefited from the water project. “The committee has over a period of time called for payment of the service provider on work done in order to ensure that work in the area is completed and that residents get water which is their constitutional right,” Mr Johnson said.

At the heart of this unfortunate and preventable death is the inability to plan within the Department of Water and Sanitation that has seen the depletion of funds, whereas the planned work is not implemented.

The department has over the past few years spent almost 100% of appropriated funds but has only achieved less than 50% of its targets.

“It is heart-breaking that a young life full of promise has been cut shot because of the ineptitude and incompetence of many within the department of Water and Sanitation. This is completely unacceptable, and someone must take full responsibility for this irresponsible act of negligence,” Mr Johnson emphasised.

“On behalf of the people of SA, as public representatives, I convey sincere condolences to the immediate Mhlongo family and the broader family.” added Mr Johnson.

The department has a construction unit that must be urgently dispatched to Giyani, not only to close the open manholes but to come up with measures to complete the project and provide people of the area with their constitutional right, that is, water.

The committee will in its first meeting of the year require the department to clarify plans they have put in place to find funding aimed at finishing the project in Giyani and others in a similar state.

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