9 December 2015
The civil rights organisation AfriForum served the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) with a notice of intention to take legal action against the DWS for failing to provide the qualifications of employees who work on specified waterworks in South Africa.
“The water crisis has escalated. With limited water supply and deteriorating water quality as a result of sewage pollution, we are even more concerned about the competence of waterworks personnel whose responsibilities are to manage and maintain our water infrastructure and ensure its quality standards,” said Julius Kleynhans, AfriForum’s Head of Environmental Affairs.
AfriForum emphasised the importance of the qualifications and experience of people who work with water. “A qualified and experienced doctor operates on one patient at a time, for example. On the other hand, a person who works at Rand Water is responsible for the lives of 12 million people, and must ensure that they have safe drinking water,” Kleynhans added.
The regulations in terms of the Water Services Act, 1997 – Compulsory Standards for Process Controllers and Water Services Works – requires that employees must be qualified to work at waterworks sites.
AfriForum applied to Ms Nomvula Mokonyane, Minister of Water and Sanitation, for information on the qualifications of employees at 21 selected waterworks as per the Promotion of Access to Information Act, 2000. These waterworks are situated in the following towns:
Vryburg, Dealesville, Kimberley, Lichtenburg, Emalahleni, Modimolle, Cradock, Standerton, Ermelo, Ventersdorp, Brits, Hartbeespoort Dam, Bloemhof, thabazimbi, Leeupoort, Petrus Steyn, Oudtshoorn, Deneysville, Olifantsfontein, Kuruman and Brandfort.
Note: A waterworks can be a drinking water or a waste water plant.
“We have more than enough competent and experienced people to manage the water industry in South Africa – even private companies that can take on the responsibility. However, politics are ruining this critical sector. We will do everything in our power to secure the sustainable future of water for the people of South Africa,” Kleynhans added.
SMS the name of your town to 45354 and join AfriForum’s #cleanSA initiative to ensure the sustainable use and protection of our water resources. SMSs costs R1 each.
Issued by Julius Kleynhans, Head: Environmental Affairs, AfriForum, 9 December 2015