Molewa: Dearth of water officials

2010-11-24 15:40

Cape Town - The water affairs department has less than a third of the officials it needs to enforce compliance with water quality and pollution laws, Water Affairs Minister Edna Molewa revealed on Wednesday.

In a written reply to a parliamentary question, she said the department had only 31 full-time staff for enforcement, monitoring and compliance across the whole country.

"There are 16 officials at national level... and 15 officials at provincial level."

There were nine vacant posts at national level and 56 at regional level, she said.

On the posts not filled, the reply lists, among others, technicians, pollution control officers, resource protection staff and drinking water quality officials.

On plans to create a so-called regulation branch within the department, the minister said this had not yet happened.

"My department intends to create a fully-fledged branch for regulation. The process of organisational design for this new structure has not been finalised as yet, but there are plans in place to increase the number of officials dedicated to compliance, monitoring and enforcement," she said.

The Green Drop Report - a national assessment of wastewater treatment plants, released by the department in April this year - found only about seven percent of municipal sewage works were operating to acceptable standards.

With many of the 852 treatment works around the country discharging raw or only partially treated sewage into rivers and streams, experts have warned of a looming pollution crisis and growing threat to South Africa's water security.

  • WhyLikeThis - 2010-11-24 15:46

    BEE working at its very best

  • geanann - 2010-11-24 15:48

    These people were transformed right out of the business. Thanks to transformation and corruption sewage plants cannot be maintained and we sit with this mess.

      Baas-Julius - 2010-11-24 16:07

      Transformation is like mixing shit and ice-cream together, it doesn't do much to the shit but it stuff's up the ice-cream.

      croix - 2010-11-24 18:44

      Well said, BJ. It's the old, old story ... "We must ensho....", "We have plans in place.....", "My department intends to ....", etc., etc. But is there really the 'capacity' to change anything? I think not! I wish I could trust them to 'deliver' - coz that would make this a better place for ALL of us, especially my children and grandchildren. After all, we cannot survive without water ??????

  • DeonL - 2010-11-24 16:23

    Water is not a priority of Government, it will become like electricity: wait till it become scarce and then blame it on the weather / recession or apartheid / the best one: "we are still learning"

      green_goblin - 2010-11-24 16:34

      water is scarce. South Africa actually has a shortage of it.

  • green_goblin - 2010-11-24 16:34

    shock... horror... NOT!

  • potevan - 2010-11-24 16:35

    So what happened to the people that were actually IN those positions before???...perhaps they are now the consultants that are earning huge salaries (good for them) advising the Water Affairs Department on where their shortcoming are. For the rest of us...might as well drink champagne...water tastes like shit (no pun intended).

  • dude - 2010-11-24 16:38

    When are they going to blame the tax payers for the water problems and charge us more for water? Cause other then money, they don’t care for anything much – defiantly not water quality nor supply. The plan is to charge more, hire a new private company to do the work, while the inflated public servant salaries remain a constant.

  • Wes - 2010-11-24 16:43

    The only nation who shits in there drinking water and wonders why they get sick

  • croix - 2010-11-24 18:59

    Hooo boy ! Was this very same menestah not responsible for a "qualified audit" in the ministry of 'Social De-flopment'?? Has there now all of a sardine (in the drinking water) been a huge increase in the skills and/ or management abilities of the menestah?? What reasons do we have to expect better this time, madam?

  • Francois - 2010-11-24 22:20

    Julle slegte mense - Miesies Edna het nou net erken dat hulle nie kan beplan nie en nooit het nie, en julle kruisig haar. Hoe moet die arme vrou voel? Haar ma drink seker nou nog rioolwater omdat iemand die spesiefieke dorp se watergeld vir 'n kar gebruik het of vir homself. Miesies Edna het mos nou erken dat sy en haar regering nie kan of wil beplan nie. Hulle het Suid Afrika as 'n groot inkleurboek beskou en al die wit kryte weggegooi. Miesies Edna, is jy seker miesies Lindiwe gaan jou nie moer omdat jy geheime inligting uitgelap het nie? Ons sou mos nie geweet het dat die ANC nie kan beplan nie as jy nie vir ons gese het nie. Dink net daaraan, met die geld wat Baas Joe Modise gesteel het kon ons watersuiweraanlegte vir die hele Noordkaap gekoop het - natuurlik nie by Baas John Block nie. Die vraag is nou - HOE LANK GAAN DIT MIESIES VAT OM DIE PROBLEEM REG TE STEL?

  • Hans-Erik Iken - 2010-11-25 08:55

    "With many of the 852 treatment works around the country discharging raw or only partially treated sewage into rivers and streams, experts have warned of a looming pollution crisis and growing threat to South Africa's water security." In other words: they give a shitty service and we just stay in shit and the level only varies with the watertable....

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