South Africa: Hope Springs Eternal With a Master Plan for Water Security

(file photo).

A National Water and Sanitation Master Plan was launched to a full house in Pretoria on 28 November 2019. What are the implications?

On a day when many South Africans were struggling under the crises of state-owned enterprise disasters, you might be forgiven for being sceptical about two government ministers promising proactivity and a better tomorrow. But the master plan for a water-secure sector is an extremely important and welcome plan, even if only a "plan to get ready".

We are good at plans. We like them and they make us feel safe. In the World Cup of Maak 'n Plan, we are always strong contenders for the final, but in the provincial kick-off for "actual implementation", in most parts of the country, we generally don't make it through the qualifying stages, so to speak.

Encouragingly, the master plan does not duck the harsh reality of our current water crisis or the multiple challenges ahead.

Presented by Ministers Lindiwe Sisulu and Patricia de Lille, the report begins by acknowledging the three million South Africans still without basic drinking water, 14-million without decent sanitation, half of our sewage plants in a poor or critical condition, half of our wetlands destroyed, local...

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