Dirty Water For Sale in South Africa's Towns - Govt Needs to Act

Fourteen civil society organisations have joined forces to fight for access to clean drinking water across the country, but specifically in the Eastern Cape, as the outbreak of Covid-19 infections highlighted this desperate and expensive struggle facing many communities. Civil society's warnings about the collapse of the delivery of water services have gone largely unheeded by the government. Over the past three years, this problem intensified as a devastating drought plagued large parts of South Africa. Many municipalities, already wracked by mismanagement and corruption, have completely failed to deliver the water their constituents need to survive - and to which they are entitled under the Constitution, writes Lee-Anne Bruce for the Centre for Applied Legal Studies at Wits. Member of Parliament Bantu Holomisa called on the government to offer greater assistance to affected communities and said: "We need to politicise this project as much as possible ... I sometimes think ordinary South Africans don't know how precious water in this country is, aside from some urbanites who feel inconvenienced when there are water restrictions. As a long-term strategy, we can look at importing water from water-rich African countries, like Nigeria, Congo and Cameroon, and have it shipped in along the coastline. Water infrastructure development, however, must be prioritised."


Residents fetch water from a truck on Jongilanga Street, KwaNobuhle. There is more demand than water to go around.

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