The Cardinal sin of not voting for the ANC

Andrew Louw, MPL

DA Provincial Leader:

The right of access to water is one of the most important human rights protected in our Constitution. Without water, there is no life. For the past two years, the ANC-led provincial government has denied the people of Loeriesfontein this right – for no other reason than the fact that they have elected a DA-run municipal council.

Loeriesfontein in the Hantam municipality falls in the Namakwa district, which was declared a disaster area due to drought in December 2013.

The area is dependent on groundwater. The Hantam municipality is dedicated to providing services to all residents. Since December 2013, the Hantam municipality has paid for the establishment of 20 boreholes in Loeriesfontein. The Hantam municipality has also bought two water trucks to distribute water to residents. The adjustment appropriation for 2014/15 also makes provision for the digging of another borehole.

However, the costs of these interim relief measures are far too high for a local municipality to carry. Each borehole costs R80 000. The two trucks cost R2.2 million. The diesel for one truck for one month alone is R150 000 and the overtime to be paid to workers is about R20 000. The municipality also has to budget for maintenance of the two trucks – and bear in mind, in one month alone, one truck can travel up to 140 000 kilometers.

So the Hantam municipality has requested assistance from the Office of the Premier, the MEC for COGHSTA, the Namakwa district municipality and the national department of Water Affairs. The municipality also requested help from the South African National Defence Force to assist with the water trucks.

We are grateful to the national department of Water Affairs, which contributed R4 million to our efforts and helped with the establishing of the boreholes. We appreciate the fact that the national department can lay aside political differences and help us work towards a common goal.

Aside from their assistance, we have heard nothing from the other institutions. In fact, we are yet to have the courtesy of a reply from the Office of the Premier, the MEC for COGHSTA and the Namakwa district municipality. The SANDF also shrugged their shoulders and refused to assist. With what the Office of the Premier spends on takeaways alone, we could afford to pay our workers for three months.

Why is there no assistance forthcoming? Section 27 of the Constitution enshrines the right of access to “sufficient water”. Why is the provincial government undermining this important, basic right of our people?

The only reason for their indifference is the fact that the people of Loeriesfontein elected a DA-run municipality. In 2011, 42% of the people in Hantam cast their vote for the DA. This number increased in the 2014 elections. The ANC is running scared ahead of the 2016 municipal elections and are trying to create the impression that the DA is failing to provide for the people. It is absolutely despicable that the ANC is depriving people of their constitutional rights simply to punish them for voting for us.

As the DA, we have referred this matter to the South African Human Rights Commission for investigation. We trust that they will investigate the matter fully and will make recommendations on how to proceed.

We will not sit idly by while the ANC hampers our service delivery efforts. We will not allow the ANC-led provincial government to turn their backs on our people simply to make a political statement.