The Democratic Alliance (DA) is calling on Mpumalanga Cooperative Governance (CoGTA) MEC Mandla Msibi to urgently intensify efforts to ensure water provision to communities during the lockdown.
Many communities in Mpumalanga still do not have access to water. Most affected areas are Dr JS Moroka, Nkomazi and Thembisile Hani local municipalities. These municipalities are synonymous with water scarcity and as we’re fighting Covid-19, residents are at higher risk of infection.
In Thembisile Hani local municipality, officials promised to deliver water through the use of water tankers during the lockdown. This failed in the first week. Areas without water include Sun City G, Sun City C, Sun City B, Sun City D, Lethuli Village (Ward 22), Klapfontein (Ward19), Mountain View (Ward 14), Moloto (Ward 3) and Ward 4. In Sun City D, the situation is worse off now and the residents have been without water for three weeks.
How can residents in these areas prevent the spread of Covid-19 without water?
On the 15th of March 2020, President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a national state of disaster in our country and this was later followed by the announcement of a lockdown which started on the 27th of March and will be enforced until the 16th of April 2020.
Together with this lockdown, our President urged residents to maintain heightened hygiene practices by regularly washing hands in a bid to control the spread of Covid-19, and promised to ensure the delivery of essential services and essential goods.
An essential service is defined in section 213 of the Labour Relations Act as a service which the lack of or interruption of would endanger the lives, personal safety and health of the whole or any part of the population.
As gazetted on 12 September 1997 in Government Gazette 18276, number 1216; municipalities have been classified as essential by the Essential Services Committee and of which the supply and distribution of water is classified as an essential service.
It is commonplace that water is vital for life and by just washing your hands, you can kill the coronavirus, protect yourself from contacting the disease and also prevent the spread of the virus. But how do you do this if you have a limited water supply or no water coming from your taps at all?
Ahead of the lockdown, and on the 25th and 26th of March, the Minister for Water and Sanitation, Lindiwe Sisulu promised the provision of water during the lockdown and promised to ensure that water would be available in the vulnerable communities they identified. In addressing the nation, she has said that, “we have taken steps to seek support from the private sector and we have so far identified 2000 communities and 2100 sites where we will provide water”.
The DA will write to Mandla Msibi and ask him to intensify his efforts and ensure water provision to these communities during the lockdown.