Damning report on Limpopo water issued


Water services authorities in Limpopo have failed to comply with the basic legislation on water services and therefore everyone in the province does not have sufficient access to water.

This is what the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) found in an investigation it conducted after several complaints related to insufficient access to water in several districts in Limpopo.

Wisani Baloyi, spokesperson for the SAMRK, says the investigation focused on communities’ access to water as well as the effectiveness of water services authorities in providing water.

On Monday, the commission published the report of its investigation and it was found that municipalities right across the province are struggling to supply water to communities.

“In the report, the SAMRC found in the main that most of the water services authorities fail to comply with the Water Services Act 108 of 1997. The services also do not comply with mandatory national standards and measures to save water,” says Baloyi.

“The investigation further found that the following factors contribute to the underlying causes of water challenges in the province: lack of sufficient skills of water services authorities, lack of planning, and lack of proper performance of duties as required by the Water Services Act.

“The report also highlights how water services authorities fail to adequately spend grants allocated to them, and how oversight bodies such as the Department of Water and Sanitation and the Department of Cooperative Government, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs fail to prosecute those municipalities that unable to provide water to vulnerable communities.”

The report contains 26 recommendations addressed to all ten water services authorities in Limpopo, as well as the oversight bodies in the province such as the department of water and sanitation, the department of cooperative government, human settlements and traditional affairs and the office of the prime minister.

The SAMRC has already submitted this report to the provincial legislature’s portfolio committee on collaborative governance, human settlements and traditional affairs. The SAMRC intends to closely monitor the implementation of its recommendations to ensure that the right to access water in Limpopo becomes a reality for all.

“It is important for municipalities appointed as water service authorities to fulfill their crucial and direct role in providing everyone, especially vulnerable communities, with access to water. This duty cannot be overemphasized in the context where South Africa is a water-scarce country that is classified among the 30 driest countries in the world.”

Read the complete report here.