Calling for water justice in South Africa

2016-03-30 06:00

WORLD Water Day highlights the importance of water and water management for sustainable development.

The theme for 2016 is “Better water­, better jobs”. This is ironic for South Africa, where the gap between those with and without access to water is even higher than the income gap.

Research by the International Water Management Institute has shown that 10% of large water users use 70% to 90% of our country’s water.

Just over one percent of rural users are large-scale commercial farmers who use 95% of all agricultural water.

Instead of regulating the large users, the government requires that small food producers have water licences and charges them high rates.

The target of 60% of water licences to black users by 2024, as stipulated in the National Water Act, remains a dream.

Since 1998, only two percent of the water licences that were issued were to black users.

Recent Oxfam research shows that half of the R1 billion identified for drought relief is being used to fix neglected­ water infrastructure.

Tshintsha Amakhaya, a civil-society alliance, has embarked on a Water Justice Campaign. We will take these cases to the Water Tribunal, a government-regulated kind of water court.

We call on you to support our call for water justice and #WaterForAll.

MONIQUE SALOMON

National co-ordinator: Tshintsha Amakhaya Alliance

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