#NationalWaterWeek: Gauteng residents have nothing to celebrate as taps run dry

Issued by Nico De Jager MPL – DA Gauteng Spokesperson for Infrastructure Development
24 Mar 2023 in Press Statements

The years of neglect of our water infrastructure across Gauteng, with a lack of proactive maintenance, and regular upgrades of existing infrastructure, coupled with poor communication from Rand Water, have left residents without water for days on end.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is deeply concerned about this unacceptable behaviour from Rand Water. This entity continuously blames vandalism for its woes when it is its job to secure the infrastructure.

The blame is shifted to municipalities when they should also be maintaining their own infrastructure. Furthermore, Rand Water continuously talks about municipalities exceeding their daily quota while doing minimal campaigning to conserve water and protect water sources.

The world celebrated World Water Day on 22 March 2023, and South Africa continues to celebrate National Water Week from 20-26 March to raise awareness about the global water crisis and the need to manage water resources sustainably. In reality, Gauteng residents had nothing to celebrate as areas of Lesedi Local Municipality, such as Heidelberg, are still battling without water after more than a week. Schools and residents must buy water for drinking and cleaning as the taps are dry.

Every time the Vereeniging plant experiences an infrastructure failure, the Rand Water Eikenhof reservoir system fails to supply water to large parts of Randburg, Roodepoort, Hursthill, Crosby and the Commando system that feeds water to Johannesburg South.

To add insult to injury, Joburg Water has again left large parts of the East and Northeast of Johannesburg without water. As much as we appreciate maintenance work, the timing of the maintenance after two weeks of intermittent water supply and lack of roaming water tankers is leaving residents highly frustrated.

Areas of Benoni in Ekurhuleni also suffered from water outages over the long weekend. As much as water entities would like to blame the system’s failures on loadshedding, neglect and the lack of electrical infrastructure maintenance and upgrades have led to the current dire situation.

World Water Day is about celebrating access to water, about the conservation of water resources. The Minister for Water and Sanitation, Senzo Mchunu, announced a R28 billion investment into 12 more Rand Water reservoirs while calling on municipalities to use less. However, as much as any capital investment must be welcomed, the DA insists that the Minister adopt a cooperative approach to assist municipalities with the maintenance upgrades where the municipalities cannot do it independently.

The DA has launched an online petition demanding that Rand Water act decisively and supply water. Sign our petition here