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Over 20 Free State towns have no water at all or are experiencing supply challenges: DA

Jan 11, 2018
Over 20 Free State towns have no water at all or are experiencing supply challenges: DA

There are currently more than twenty towns in the Free State that either have no water at all, or they are experiencing water supply disruptions with extremely unhygienic water coming from their taps, the Democratic Alliance (DA) revealed on Thursday.

"This was discovered in a survey conducted by the DA representatives.

"Water problems in these towns are mainly due to the faulty, and often non-functioning, water treatment plants and dilapidated pipes, while some dams are completely dry," said Patricia Kopane - DA Free State Leader.

"In 2013, the DA sent a formal demand to the then COGTA MEC, Olly Mlamleli, urging her to come up with a concrete action plan on how this crisis will be resolved with immediate effect. To date nothing has been done. Even the current COGTA MEC has not come up with a plan to avert this crisis.

"The towns currently experiencing a water crisis that were identified in the DA’s survey are: Jacobsdal, Fauresmith, Trompsburg, Frankfort, Villiers, Tweeling, Cornelia, Smithfield, Zastron, Wepener, Dewetsdorp, Dealesville, Brandfort, Theunissen, Winburg, Soutpan, Tweespruit, Marquard, Clocolan, Steynsrus, Fouriesburg, Qwaqwa, Ladybrand, Excelsior, Lindley, Parys, and Koppies."

Kopane added that in the Letsemeng, Mohokare and Ngwathe Municipalities, residents have no adequate water supply because of poor water management and lack of maintenance.

"Whilst in Naledi, Mantsopa, Setsoto and Masilonyane Municipalities challenges vary from undrinkable water to dams that are completely dry."

She said that this adversely affects these communities in a sense that:

  • Businesses such as abattoirs and guest houses need water to run proficiently and without water they suffer;
  • Schools in the marginalised areas also rely heavily on water in order to continue with the feeding scheme, without water the programme has to be discontinued to the detriment of poor pupils;
  • Healthcare facilities battle to stay operational without water; and
  • Garden projects that have been initiated to assist the poor and the unemployed also suffer as plants begin to die, leading to the failure of the projects.

"It is sad to see women and children being forced to travel long distances in order to draw water using wheelbarrows. This is unacceptable in a 23 year old democratic country where water has been constitutionally declared as a basic need.

"But to date, the government has not yet shown any commitment in resolving the crisis," Kopane said.

"If the ANC government cared about the people of this province, this crises would have been solved immediately after it arose with prevention measures then set in place to ensure it does not take place again.

"The DA has been consistently reporting this calamity to South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) and gave them the number of towns that are affected. Reports and recommendations were issued but the province failed to comply with some recommendations."

Kopane said that on 14 December 2017, the DA met with the SAHRC, following numerous complaints to the commission regarding water and sanitation in the province.

"The DA is currently compiling a list of all the towns in the province that are experiencing water problems and will hand the list to the commission on 19 January. The DA will reveal this list upon completion and announce a subsequent oversight tour to the areas most affected," she described.

"The DA will not stand by as thousands of poor people are denied the basic services that they are entitled to. The people of the Free State deserve a new beginning that only a DA government can bring a government that will ensure that people have access to basic human rights."