South Africa: Minister Lindiwe Sisulu Intervenes in Water and Sanitation Crisis in Makhanda

press release

The Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation, Lindiwe Sisulu, has activated measures which will result in the Minister assuming executive authority over the water and sanitation function in the Makhanda Local Municipality.

These measures will result in the Minister overseeing a multi-sectoral team to be appointed from key stakeholders at national, provincial and local levels. This team will take efforts necessary to ensure that there is an uninterrupted provision of clean water and decent sanitation to the people of Makhanda.

These extraordinary steps have been taken in terms of the relevant provisions of the Constitution and the Water Services Act and following consultations with relevant stakeholders at provincial and local levels, post appointment as the Minister responsible for Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation.

The intent and purpose of the exercise is to ensure that the residents and citizens of the Makhanda Local Municipality have access to clean and safe drinking water as well as access to decent sanitation facilities. Minister Sisulu is also taking these steps to ensure that the provisions of the Constitution and Water Services Act are respected and adhered to by all spheres of government.

In conjunction with the National and Provincial Departments of Cooperative Governance and Human Settlements, as well as all affected and interested stakeholders, the Minister will immediately activate a process to give effect to the Minister assuming executive responsibility and accountability for the provision of water and sanitation services in the area.

The intended outcomes of the intervention include but are not limited to the following:

Undertaking an evaluation and analysis of the reasons and resultant failures that have occurred in the Makhanda Local Municipality related to provision of water and sanitation.

Developing short, medium and long term plans for both the operational and capital maintenance and management of water and sanitation infrastructure in the Makhanda Local Municipality.

Developing short, medium and long term plans for sustainable water and sanitation provision to the residents of Makhanda Local Municipality.

Ensuring that over the medium and long term there is an appropriate plan to create and/or strengthen the required regulatory, technical, financial skills and expertise in the Makhanda Local Municipality for the long term and sustainable provision of water and sanitation services in Makhanda.

"My intervention in Makhanda is meant to give practical expression to our Constitution's provision that everyone has the right to have access to sufficient food and water", Minister Sisulu said.

"A team will be immediately dispatched to Makhanda to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the situation and make concrete proposals on the short, medium and long terms interventions that need to be put in place to ensure that residents and other water users have uninterrupted supply and access to clean and safe drinking water and proper sanitation", Minister Sisulu added.

It is expected that the team from the department will work closely with sector departments at the provincial and local levels, with the Minister providing oversight on the work being done whilst providing regular feedback to all stakeholders and interested parties.

Issued by: Department of Water and Sanitation

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