Opposition party’s future vision for SA

2015-07-22 06:00
PHOTO: tania sandberg

DA KZN provincial leader Councillor Zwakele Mncwango, provincial deputy leader Mergen Chetty MP, Durban South Constituency head Dianne Kohler Barnard MP, Councillor Babayi Mthembu, Durban South Constiutency chairperson Counci

PHOTO: tania sandberg DA KZN provincial leader Councillor Zwakele Mncwango, provincial deputy leader Mergen Chetty MP, Durban South Constituency head Dianne Kohler Barnard MP, Councillor Babayi Mthembu, Durban South Constiutency chairperson Counci

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THE Democratic Alliance leader, Mmusi Maimane, MP addressed Illovo residents as part of his national Vision 2029 Tour on Sunday, 12 June. Vision 2029 aims to show South Africans what a future under a DA government would look like.

At the heart of this vision is a government that is dedicated to ensuring that all South Africans have access to top quality services. Addressing poor governance of resources, Maimane said we are fast approaching a water crisis of disastrous proportions in the country.

“The effect of this crisis has been deeply felt here in KwaZulu-Natal where dams are only 35% full on average. But this crisis is not only a climate problem - it is a problem of governance.

“The burden of low rainfall is being exacerbated by poor maintenance, ageing infrastructure and an intermittent energy supply,” he said.

Maimane added that while South Africa has a Constitution that guarantees the right to water in the Bill of Rights, this right is being denied to millions of residents of our country.

“In this province alone, an estimated one million people have been impacted by water shortages and water restrictions, while others have to walk tens of kilometres to source drinking water. We have already seen the humanitarian impact of this, but we are increasingly seeing the agricultural and economic impact.

“Without water for irrigation, sugar farmers are suffering and mills are closing. The result is job losses that we certainly cannot afford. In KZN, almost 40% of people are already unemployed – a rate well above the national average. Like any scare resource, water has to be carefully managed to make sure it is not wasted,” said Maimane.

We cannot allow the water crisis to go the way of the electricity crisis he said.

“We cannot afford national water load shedding on top of electricity load shedding. We need to take urgent action to prevent this looming disaster.”

According to the MP, on a national level, the water and sanitation minister Nomvula Mokonyane has indicated that we will need R670 billion over the next 10 years to fix the infrastructure required to keep the water flowing. Only 45% of this has currently been allocated by government.

He said on average we lose 37% of revenue from water due to leakage, commercial losses and any unbilled consumption. In many irrigation and municipal water supply schemes this figure can reach as high as 60%.

“This problem has reached disaster level in KZN where broken and leaking pipes are resulting in the loss of hundreds of millions of litres of water at great cost. In eThekwini alone, 237 million litres are being lost per day costing the municipality R600 million a year in wastage. To fix this problem R1.5 billion is needed over the next five years to repair the aging water infrastructure.”

Maimane said the DA would seek to temper this crisis through decisive action.

“While we cannot change the climate, we can better manage the problem posed by scare resources.

“A DA government would prioritise spending in critical infrastructure, such as water and sanitation, while cutting the cost of the bloated public sector wage bill,” he said

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