UASA, an affiliate of the Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA), is extremely disappointed with the reaction of Ms Nobubele Ngele, acting Director General of Water Affairs (DWA), following FEDUSA’s Section 77 application to the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC) regarding the state of water security in South Africa.
Ngele’s reference to Fedusa’s intention to strike if the water crisis does not receive the necessary attention as “bizarre” is simply unacceptable in the face of the overwhelming evidence presented.
Ngele’s statement that there will be no water crisis is a blatant denial of the problem. We are ALREADY in a crisis if a mere 7% of the country’s sewage plants received Green Drop Status. This means that 93% of sewage plants are not functioning properly. Ironically enough, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe arrived in the capital of Vietnam yesterday to conclude an agreement with that country on inter alia the treatment of their water.
To Ngele’s suggestion that concerned parties must rather engage with officials of the Department of Water Affairs, we reiterate that previous attempts to do exactly that yielded absolutely zero results, hence our decision to approach NEDLAC. At least, at NEDLAC all parties will have a fair chance to consult on the matter and if Government wishes to brush us aside as DWA officials previously did, we will have the opportunity to start mobilising, not only FEDUSA and UASA members, but also the public at large.
Dr Jo Barnes, epidemiologist at the faculty of Health Sciences of the University of Stellenbosch, one of the speakers at last week’s Nedlac presentation[28 September], told UASA today that she doesn’t see evidence of any integrated and coherent government plans to address the water problem. “The only public reaction is denial. This is of great concern, since denial will only lead to the pathways of disease spreading to more communities via our polluted waterways. The government has a few turnaround strategies in place, but none of them seem to be effective,” said Barnes.
UASA’s approach to the water challenge is one of loyal resistance, meaning that we want to promote the idea of developing strategic coherence among all parties to work together to fix the situation. If Governments’ reaction is going to be the same as per the shocking media release by the acting DG, then they will be doing so at their own peril.”
*Click [here] to visit our Water for Life website for further details regarding the water crisis.