Parliament: Infrastructure vandalism at 'crisis level'

2014-09-26 08:48

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Johannesburg - The continuing vandalism and theft of water infrastructure in South Africa was concerning, Parliament's portfolio committee on water and sanitation said on Thursday.

"The theft of cables at Palmiet pump station was highlighted as a main contributor towards the water shortages experienced within the greater Gauteng province this week," chairperson Mlungisi Johnson said.

'Crisis level'

"Vandalism and theft of water supply infrastructure has reached a crisis level within the country and urgent action needs to be taken."

This was because it denied people their basic right of access to quality water as well as putting pressure on budgets, as infrastructure had to be replaced and maintained.

The committee believed the problem was a societal one that required a collaborative effort by everyone in order to deal effectively with the problem.

"Furthermore, this crisis is compounded by metal recycling businesses that continue to buy stolen metals and cables from the perpetrators of these crimes," he said.

"The committee urges the community to work with the SAPS, the department of justice and all law enforcement agencies to ensure the arrest and prosecution of these vandals and thieves."

Water shortages

Earlier on Thursday, Gauteng Premier David Makhura said he would receive a report on Friday on the water shortages in the province.

"I have asked for an urgent report on the water situation in the municipalities in the province, including what the real problem is and what the source of the apparent water supply problem is," he said on the sidelines of a provincial security indaba in Germiston, on Johannesburg's East Rand.

"We will be able to look at the matter and where necessary discuss with the national minister of water and sanitation."

Makhura said he was meeting mayors in Gauteng on Friday to discuss how to take the province forward with regard to infrastructure and investments.

Rand Water on Thursday denied reports of water restrictions in Gauteng following water shortages during the week.

High-lying areas, such as Bedfordview and Primrose, still had water shortages because there was not enough pressure to push water there. As water levels increased, there would be enough pressure to pump water to these suburbs.

Water restored

Earlier, authorities said water had been restored to most of Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni.

Only two suburbs in Johannesburg - South Hills and Rabie Ridge - and two in Ekurhuleni - Bedfordview and Primrose - were still without water.

Johnson said the committee acknowledged the swift action taken by municipalities in Gauteng to supply water tanks in areas where shortages were being experienced.

"In efforts to solve the problem, the committee will continue to engage the department of water and sanitation, SAPS and different municipalities across the country to come up with effective strategies to deal with the problem in its entirety."

Read more on:    david makhura  |  johannesburg  |  service delivery  |  crime  |  water

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