Cape Town – Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane was proud of the way South Africans had pulled together to deliver water all over the country during the drought, her spokesperson said on Monday.
“It reinforces the fact that we are a caring nation. When confronted by tough times we are all able to pull together,” Mlimandlela Ndamase said.
This did not take away government’s responsibility, she said.
Over the past weeks, ordinary South Africans have rallied to help people desperate for water after five provinces were declared disaster areas as a result of the drought.
Water convoys organised by Facebook group Water Shortage SA, Gift of the Givers and #OperationHydrate had been criss-crossing the country to provide relief to grateful recipients.
In addition to the water shortages, parts of the country had experienced extremely high temperatures, making it more difficult for farmers to keep their cattle and crops alive.
Although there had been some rain, it had not been enough.
“It was not rain that can make us say we are out of the woods,” Ndamase said.
Mokonyane had travelled to drought-stricken areas to check on water tanker deliveries by the government, such as 18 000 litres taken to the Eastern Cape.
She had travelled to Aliwal North, after water was released from Lesotho’s Katse Dam, via a bilateral agreement, to get the Orange River flowing again.
AfriForum said the Joe Gqabi District Municipality in the Eastern Cape had attended to raw sewage from a manhole which had been flowing into the river for over a year.
The department had pleaded with private landowners who had water use licences for their dams to share water with neighbouring communities. If farmers refused, there were laws to force them to share the water.
Earlier on Monday, the DA demanded to be given the latest Blue Drop and Green Drop report so it could get the overall picture on water and waste water management and safety.
The DA believed Mokonyane was withholding the report to hide the ANC’s failures.
Ndamase said the report had already been distributed to individual municipalities and the DA need only ask for a copy.
It confirmed the department’s earlier finding that intervention was needed in the water management of 27 district municipalities, and one metro municipality – Nelson Mandela Metro.