TLU SA says that in the two days before comments on the controversial proposed draft regulations for the awarding of water licenses closed, more than 2,000 people expressed their distaste for this through the organisation’s platforms. The organization sent the comments to the relevant address and also submitted official comments.
RNews previously reported that on May 19 the Department of Water Affairs and Sanitation (DWS) proposed draft regulations for the awarding of water licenses in the government Gazette published. One of the requirements was that the licenses for agriculture and forestry must be awarded to entities that have between 25% and 75% black shareholding.
“We want to thank every person who commented on this,” says Bennie van Zyl, general manager of TLU SA. “The influx of negative comments confirms that the department’s and government’s short-sighted plans will be detrimental to food supply. We are grateful that consumers have followed the correct procedures to provide input on something that will affect us all. This is the only way we are going to contribute to short-circuiting the government’s ideological plans.”
In the official comments, TLU SA expressed concern about the draft regulations and pointed out various implications of their implementation.
- The changes go against a person’s constitutional right to decide where and how they do business.
- The use of water is crucial to produce food.
- Commercial farmers produce food for approximately 70% of urbanized South Africans.
- The guise of job provision is a lie that can only benefit a very small percentage of people to some extent.
- Market forces always have the final say in the success of the economy. A strong economy can only exist sustainably if economic principles are followed over an ideological attack.
“TLU SA rejects the draft regulations,” says Van Zyl. “It was clearly put together hastily and with a specific ideology in mind. This is of no benefit to South Africa.”
Racial quotas for water: AfriForum submits comments
The civil rights organization AfriForum also submitted comprehensive comments on the controversial draft regulations on the water use licences.
The main change these proposed amendments to water legislation envisage is the requirement that an applicant for a water use license will require as much as 75% black ownership.
“AfriForum’s biggest concern is various provisions that indicate Senzo Mchunu, the minister of water and sanitation,’s intention to issue regulations that are contrary to the National Water Act (Act 36 of 1998) and the Act on the Promotion of Administrative Justice (Act 3 of 2000),” says Marais de Vaal, AfriForum’s advisor for environmental affairs.
A good example of this is the attempt to circumvent requirements set by the National Water Act for water license applications and introduce illegal requirements regarding race quotas.
“Although certain elements of the revised draft regulations are necessary and commendable, such as the goal of speeding up the water license application process, they contain a host of errors, contradictions and unlawful provisions,” adds De Vaal. “These range from simple spelling mistakes and faulty cross-references, which at best make certain provisions meaningless or confusing, to unreasonable requirements such as strict deadlines that applicants must meet, while system downtime allows the Department of Water and Sanitation to deviate from deadlines.”
AfriForum had already sent a request to the minister to withdraw the revised draft regulations, but it fell on deaf ears.
“With the submission of comments, AfriForum still fulfills an essential role in the legislative process, because every shortcoming of the draft regulations is pointed out in detail and placed on record, which the minister must now take into account before a revised version of it can be made public again. The hope still remains that the draft regulations will be scrapped in their entirety and that the minister will start on a clean slate, precisely because the current draft regulations are riddled with problems.”
If the minister and his department were to continue with the controversial regulations, AfriForum will consider further remedies at its disposal.