Nosimo Balindlela MP
DA Shadow Minister of Water and Sanitation:
These are remarks made today by the DA Shadow Minister of Water and Sanitation, Nosimo Balindlela MP following an oversight visit to Bushbuckridge in Mpumalanga today.
The community of Emagamsini and Hlamalani and surrounding areas in Casteel, Bushbuckridge, are desperate for water. On my oversight visit today, I experienced first-hand how dire the water situation is. Residents are subjected to dirty drinking water from wells. Community members embark on an almost 20 km journey to collect water which they share with animals from a local water source.
I joined them on their long daily trek. This is something no South African should experience after 21 years of democracy and is clearly a violation of a most basic human right. Section 27 of the Constitution ensures that each and every South African has the right to clean quality drinking water.
I have today written to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Water and Sanitation, Mlungisi Johnson, to request that he summon Minister Nomvula Mokonyane to account for the devastating waterless situation in Bushbuckridge.
In Casteel, 15 year old Lucas Lebyane was shot dead by the police during a service delivery protest demanding water – I decided to stay overnight with the family in order to understand better the day to day plight of the community, including their frustration of not getting the necessary help from authorities on what really happened on that day.
This is a community facing the full brunt of the nation’s water crisis. Minister Mokonyane must ultimately be held accountable by Parliament for the failure of her department to ensure that these communities are serviced with clean water regularly.
Minister Mokonyane has only appeared once before the Portfolio Committee since the start of the 5th Parliament. She can no longer be allowed to dodge accountability.
The DA in the coming months will continue to undertake rigorous oversight visits to communities across the country to assess the impact of the water crisis our nation faces.
Those who are responsible for the infringement of human rights must be dealt with by the full extent of the law.
The DA’s local government representatives will pursue further action in their respective Municipal Councils to ensure remedial action is taken immediately and that communities’ rights are upheld and that good quality service delivery becomes a reality for all South Africans.