By James Letuka, DA MPL in the Free State Provincial Legislature:
The Free State is set to become the first province to implement scheduled water-shedding across all municipalities.
MEC for Police, Roads and Transport, Butana Komphela, announced late this afternoon that water-shedding will be implemented in the province within four days. Water supply is expected to be interrupted from between 9pm to 5am each day, however, the DA expects that this will be dependent on the extent of the water crisis and if necessary in each town.
MEC Khomphela who serves as the chairperson for the Free State Provincial Joint Operations Centre on the drought, claimed that the province only has 24 days of fresh water supply remaining.
This comes just days after the Moqhaka Local Municipality became the first municipality to institute water-shedding, leaving some communities with only a two-hour window period where piped water will be supplied per day and less than month since the National Minister for Water Affairs and Sanitation, Nomvula Mokonyane, unequivocally declared that South Africa will never implement water-shedding.
The ANC-led government continues to mislead the people by downplaying the extent of the current water crisis which has been years in making.
The DA in the Free State Legislature has warned the provincial government about the impending water crisis for almost a decade.
More than a decade of poor water and sanitation infrastructure maintenance, slow to non-existent infrastructure expansion to meet increased demand and the wilful abandonment of a sound water management strategy are now paying dividends.
The ANC-led government cannot blame the lack of rain and the drought for its incompetence. South Africa has endured many droughts, but it has never had to contend with water-shedding. This in itself is an indictment of the downward spiral of governance the ANC finds itself in. When taps run dry the blame must be firmly placed at the feet of the ANC.
The DA in the Free State have already instructed all its councillors in all municipalities to track the impact of water restrictions, water disruptions, water-shedding, and total water supply shutdown, and the response by municipalities to ensure that water points are made available in all affected communities and that effective communication take place surrounding the measures implemented to prevent the further deterioration of the water crisis.
The DA calls on all the people of the Free State to use water wisely.
Where the DA governs in City of Cape Town, the DA government have invested heavily in the maintenance and expansion of water infrastructure to keep up with rising demand. In fact, the City of Cape Town has managed to reduce piped water losses during the 2013/14 financial year under review to a mere 14.5%. Free State municipalities suffer between 25% to 75% piped water losses. This is the DA difference.
Where the DA governs in the Western Cape, the DA has identified water as a limited and critical resource and developed a sound water management strategy for the Western Cape to ensure sustainable supply of piped water. This is simply because the DA takes governance seriously.
The time for change has come. In 2016 the poor governance of the ANC must be rejected. The DA is the only alternative.