National task force to tackle poor water and sanitation services


A national task force has been appointed to deal with the deterioration of water and sanitation services in the country’s municipalities.

According to the Department of Water and Sanitation, the establishment of the task force is in accordance with a decision taken at a recent summit in an effort to address the deterioration of these services, as outlined in recent Blue Drop, Green Drop and No Drop reports. , to handle.

The Department of Cooperative Government and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) and the South African Local Government Association (Salga) will also form part of the task force.

“The aim is to review service delivery mechanisms for water and sanitation services. The task force will focus on the 105 municipalities that are in the critical and underperforming categories according to the Blue and Green Drop reports. The Druppel reports showed a general decline in performance,” said Wisane Mavasa, spokesperson for the Department of Water and Sanitation.

For example, the Blue Drop report found that the percentage of water supply systems with poor water quality compliance, i.e. water that is not safe to drink, increased from 5% in 2014 to 46% in 2023.

The Green Drop report found that the percentage of municipal wastewater systems that are in a critical state of performance, i.e. discharging partially treated or untreated sewage into rivers, increased from 30% in 2013 to 39% in 2022.

According to Mavasa, the Druppel reports show that municipal water services have declined sharply.

“This suggests that there are limitations and that support from the national government can help solve the problems, and that more fundamental reforms are needed. For example, routine maintenance and operations must be financed by revenue from the sale of water by municipalities to customers, and municipal councils must make the necessary decisions to prioritize budgets for this.

Other key decisions taken at the summit, according to Mavasa, include that all water service authorities must develop action plans to address their Druppel results and the plans must be submitted to the department by the end of February.

“All water service authorities must also issue notices when drinking water does not meet the necessary safety standards.”