South Africa: SA Needs a Robust Water Resilience Strategy Amid Ratings Downgrades and COVID-19

Hand sanitiser (file photo).

The recent downgrades of South Africa's investment ratings present serious constraints to the government's plans to fund water infrastructure in a climate of water scarcity. We need to invest properly and wisely.

The hardy aloe plant made yet another appearance in the Budget speech this year. Carried to the podium by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni, it was meant to symbolise the ongoing challenges facing this country.

"For the Aloe ferox to grow to its full potential, we need to do things that will help in the medium to long run," said Mboweni, mentioning the need to provide just the right amount of water. Our money, he said, must be invested properly.

It was announced at the time that the government would inject R10-billion into the infrastructure fund over the next three years to support the R200-billion capacity that is to be built under the Development Bank of South Africa.

A National Treasury document, Economic transformation, inclusive growth, and competitiveness, offers some appreciation for the relationship between water and the economy. Investment in water security is vital to enable economic growth.

The document cites the 2019 Budget review, noting that water infrastructure projects have been allocated R90,4-billion between 2019/2020 and 2021/22....

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