DA demands COGTA unveils plan of action to tackle 'looming water crisis'

OCTOBER 10, 2016

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Eastern Cape over the weekend called on the Eastern Cape Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs to urgently look into facilitating the process of tackling what it termed a "looming water crisis in the Eastern Cape as a result of strike action that is underway".

"The Democratic Alliance respects worker’s rights to strike as it is a vital tool that is used to raise an employer’s awareness about conflict in the workplace. However, strike action must fall under our labour prescripts and proper processes must be followed to resolve such disputes," said Kobus Botha MPL, the DA's Spokesperson for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.

"Water outages are an infringement on the rights of the residents of this province; section 27 of our Constitution clearly states that each person has the right to access sufficient water.

"This issue undoubtedly threatens the livelihood of our people as well as livestock as waterborne diseases will become a threat to those who are unable to purchase decontaminated bottled water."

Botha said that he has communicated with DA Members of Parliament, who serve on the relevant portfolios regarding this issue.

"I have written a letter to Amathola Water CEO, Mr Lefadi Makibinyane and the MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Fikile Xasa. Although this is a national function of the Department of Water and Sanitation, local municipalities are affected by the strike action and it impacts the lives of people residing within these municipalities’ jurisdiction," he said.

"I will be enquiring about the department’s plans to facilitate the dispute resolution process as well as the emergency plans that the Amathola Water Board has in place to ensure that residents of the Eastern Cape will be supplied with clean and safe water.

"It is inhumane and unacceptable that members of our community, young and old, will be forced to live under unhygienic and potentially harmful conditions with no running water if this issue is not resolved urgently."