Call to clamp down on water 'stealers'

Verification and validation of water usage in South Africa is urgently needed, according to Nic Knoetze, CEO of the South African Association of Water User Associations.

"We need self-regulation of water use at a local level," he said at the Agri SA Water Symposium in Somerset West on Monday.

In his view, those who abuse the use of water or "steal" water need to be "named and shamed" at a local government level. He wants to see the end of water supply to persons who are not paying for it when they are supposed to.

"South Africa's water resources must be managed at the appropriate (government) level," said Knoetze.

He would also like to see a water catchment management strategy put in place for the country. He said one was drawn up years ago, but had not been implemented. He further said he would like to see the Water Allocation Reform Policy finalised so there can be benchmarks for all the water management and allocation across South Africa.

"We need incentives in the new pricing structure for water and then there will be better water management," said Knoetze.

Janse Rabie, Agri SA's policy head for natural resources, agreed with Knoetze that the veracity of figures on water use needs to be checked.

SA tired of poor service delivery

As for Agri SA CEO Omri van Zyl, he said at the conclusion of the symposium that South Africans are tired of the non-delivery of services. "We have the responsibility to the next generation to begin to look at where we can change things and influence each other," he argued.

"That would be a more positive approach than being combative with each other all the time."

According to Van Zyl, everybody wants the agriculture sector to prosper in order to assure food security and inclusive growth.

"SA is the benchmark for agriculture in Africa. We have the ability and the knowledge to actually figure things out," he said. "From a private sector perspective, Agri SA is keen and able to assist and we will look at areas where we can improve."

Van Zyl said it was a pity that Minister of Human Settlements, Water & Sanitation Lindiwe Sisulu, who was set to speak at the symposium, was ultimately unable to attend.  

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