DA requests clear timeframe for water and sanitation interventions as lockdown looms

With less than 24 hours before the nationwide lockdown, many communities still do not have access to reliable water and sanitation resources. Considering that handwashing is one of the few ways to try and limit Covid-19 infections, these communities should have easy, reliable and continuous access to water as a basic human right.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) calls on Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation, Lindiwe Sisulu, to urgently provide  clarity on how the various water and sanitation infrastructure will be provided to the 2 000 communities that were identified for water supply, as well as other communities that struggle with reliable access to clean water.

We request a clear timeframe for the implementation of the water supply interventions and urge the Minister to provide efficient communication of this information to communities to alleviate any panic or anxiety.

Reports today, that the community of the Nomakanjani informal settlement in Port Elizabeth only has access to one working tap that serves 2 000 households is inhumane given the rate in which the virus has spread in South Africa.

Every possible step should be taken to prevent an outbreak in vulnerable communities, especially those in informal settlements where people live in close proximity to one another and might find it difficult to practice social distancing. Ready access to clean water should be the least of their worries.

We commend the Minister’s commitment that water resources would be distributed from next week onwards, and remind her of her promises of:

  • infrastructure to be established at Rand Water to ensure supply of water to communities continues;
  • handwashing facilities at taxi ranks, bus stations and other areas that are densely populated or are water scarce areas;
  • buckets in rural areas so that people can wash their hands; and
  • buying of all tankers in the country.

We will be monitoring this throughout.

Where we govern in the City of Cape Town, residents of informal settlements will be provided with access to chemical toilets and water tankers for water accessibility. Existing water tankers are being deployed, and the City has already initiated the procurement of additional water tankers.

We will continue to keep a close eye on the delivery of the Minister’s promises. This is not a time for empty promises. In order to fight the spread of Covid-19, we need to ensure that our people have access to clean and reliable water and sanitation infrastructure.