Hon Chairperson, chairperson of the portfolio committee, committee members, hon Members of Parliament, my colleagues, Deputy Ministers present, our Deputy Minister for Water and Sanitation, chairpersons and chief executives of water boards and other water sector entities, honoured guests, fellow South Africans, I bid you a very good morning.
Today we present ourselves before you, the hon Members of this Fifth Parliament, with humility and honour. Let me therefore take this opportunity to congratulate you on being the democratically elected team of representatives of our people. We further congratulate the ANC on once again being given a mandate to move South Africa forward through radical socioeconomic transformation.
Today's budget speech is based on the 2014-15 Annual Performance Plan of the then Department of Water Affairs, and it will primarily focus on water- related matters, since all matters related to sanitation will be transferred by the end of September 2014.
Guided by the National Development Plan, the ANC's manifesto and the second National Water Resource Strategy, we have resolved that we will apply a seamless, integrated approach to water management. This will ensure that we provide a sustainable and holistic value chain of water supply from source to tap and from tap back to source. As we strive to consolidate our successes and celebrate the good story in the water sector, we shall, with immediate effect, use this budget to deal with the 10% of existing services that is dysfunctional and the further 26% where the provision of water is not reliable.
The continued disruption of water services and vandalism has prompted us to take quite seriously measures to protect our infrastructure. We also intend to act radically against those in our establishment who collude with owners of water trucks to disrupt the supply so as to wrongfully amass public funds. We see this as an act of corruption and we have already started to deal with it by working together with local and provincial government, as well as with other law enforcement agencies.
While water tankering is a good intervention in cases of emergency, it cannot be a permanent solution. For us to reduce the high dependency on outsourcing our responsibilities, a change management process will unfold in due course to ensure that we in the water family have the skills required to perform. Where these do not exist, we will be left with no option but to source the requisite skills with the support of the Department of Public Service and Administration.
Together with other relevant departments, we will ensure that we contribute to both job opportunities and inclusive growth by affording local communities with capacity consideration in the allocation of contracts. New ideas and innovations informed by research and development, in partnership with our own Water Research Commission, will be welcomed so that, informed by science and technology, we can also break new ground.
Ownership of access to water continues to perpetuate inequality in our country. Working together with all South Africans, we will in this financial year open up this protected space to ensure that water as a natural resource is available and shared by all. This includes those who live in villages, townships and those who are beneficiaries of land reform.
The participation of our people in the water sector is key. We will extend our stakeholder relations by ensuring that water and sanitation forums are established in every metro and district and that they represent communities, business, academia, women, youth and people with disabilities. In the first week of August 2014 we will convene a two-day summit during which all stakeholders in the water family will come together and define our working relationship.
We will move away from a "one size fits all" approach in which every district or local municipality has the powers and functions of a water services authority while its viability and capacity is questionable. Together with the SA Local Government Association, we will further engage on issues related to water tariffs, water loss and water preservation.
We will also focus on a number of single-purpose dams to supply those communities that have previously been denied access to these dams. To name but a few, I refer to the Jozini Dam in KwaZulu-Natal, the Taung Dam in the North West and the Xonxa Dam in the Eastern Cape.
These are some of the game changers that we will implement as we respond to the expectations of our people and the mandate given to this government. We will act swiftly and decisively as we deal with nothing else but service to the nation.
The total budget for the department for this financial year is R12,48 billion. During this year, our spending focus will be on providing regional bulk infrastructure for water and wastewater treatment works that link water sources to local government infrastructure. In addition, the department will also transfer R2,6 billion in 2014-15 and R3,7 billion in 2015-16 to the Water Trading Entity, through the Water Infrastructure Management programme.
My Budget Vote per programme will therefore be as follows: R1,026 billion is allocated to Administration; R597 million is allocated to Water Sector Management; R2,919 billion is allocated to Water Resources Infrastructure; R121 million is allocated to Water Sector Regulation; R7,7 billion is allocated to the Regional Implementation Programme; and R32,5 million is allocated to International Water Co-operation.
We are also developing strategic sourcing and localisation to focus on local content. In this regard, we are collaborating with three departments: the Department of Trade and Industry, National Treasury and the Department of Economic Development.
Since my appointment and that of the Deputy Minister, we have visited a few provinces to witness for ourselves the challenges around water and sanitation. We have engaged with the premiers of the Western Cape, Free State and North West. The President has made a commitment on behalf of all of us to strengthen the capacity of our municipalities and thus improve the experience and services that our people get from this important sphere of government.
We have noticed that each province or municipality has its own specific challenge. However, there were invariably a number of problems that could be classified as cross-cutting. In this regard, for example, the issue of ageing infrastructure and the maintenance thereof remain a huge challenge across the board. Secondly, there is a lack of technical capacity to ensure that water is protected, conserved, managed and controlled sustainably and equitably. There is also a lack of capacity to perform operations and maintenance activities.
I will highlight just a few of our current interventions. While the North West province requires wall-to-wall special attention, the municipalities of Madibeng, Ngaka Modiri Molema and Lekwa-Teemane have been identified for early radical intervention. In Madibeng, the focus is on the villages of Oskraal, Shakung, Maboloka, Mothutlung and Winterveldt, where boreholes are being refurbished. In Ngaka Modiri Molema, we are dealing with the institutional arrangements following the decision to disestablish the Botshelo Water Board and transfer these functions either to Magalies Water or to Sedibeng. We are also cognisant of the decision taken by the provincial government to place that municipality under their administration. From our own experience, we do believe that it is time to intervene in that district municipality.
In Lekwa-Teemane in Bloemhof, following the death of three babies due to water being contaminated by raw sewage, we mobilised departmental resources and the Sedibeng Water Board to step in and stabilise the situation. We are currently reprioritising funding to cover the R41 million required to refurbish the water supply systems.
In the Free State, following our engagement with the premier, we took swift action to deal with those areas where we have had to introduce water restrictions to both domestic and agricultural water users in the Modder River and Caledon River systems due to the low rainfall this past summer season. We have also commenced with steps to mitigate the effects of the restrictions on the city of Mangaung and have commenced with discharges - that is, the diversion of water - from the Lesotho Highlands Water Scheme.
We have also initiated a study into the option of bringing water from the Gariep Dam to improve the long-term water security for Mangaung. We are preparing action plans for the municipalities of Ngwathe, Masilonyana, Mantsopa, Mafube, Nala, Metsimaholo, Lejweleputswa and Moqhaka.
In Mpumalanga we, along with the provincial government and Rand Water, are continuing with our intervention in Bushbuckridge. The project to construct reticulation and bulk distribution pipelines is making good progress.
We also intervened in Thembisile Hani Municipality, together with the Tshwane Metro Council and Rand Water, to increase bulk water supply to areas like Moloto, KwaMhlanga, Tweefontein and Kwaggafontein. The permanent solution to the challenges of Thembisile Hani will be to supply water from the Loskop Dam.
In Limpopo we are dealing with urgent interventions in the Greater Letaba Local Municipality in Tzaneen. In the O R Tambo District Municipality the focus is on the regional bulkwater and wastewater infrastructure.
Work is progressing well in Makana to reinstate ageing infrastructure, with a collaborative approach adopted between the department, local government, the Presidential Infrastructure Co-ordinating Commission and the Amatola Water Board.
Our focus in Gauteng is on the Sedibeng Regional Sewer Scheme, where good progress is being made on the R4,2 billion regional scheme intended to deliver an effective solution that will eradicate pollution of the Vaal River and create a regional bulk sanitation infrastructure solution for the southern region of Gauteng.
The reports I receive from the above-mentioned areas suggest that if we had been walking, we now need to run. We need to be able to intervene with speed to provide clean drinking water and decent sanitation to affected communities.
In order to ensure the delivery of water and sanitation services to South Africans, we are charged with the responsibility of integrating our work. Furthermore, to facilitate effective and timely investment, a comprehensive investment framework for the water and sanitation sector is being developed in terms of Strategic Infrastructure Project 18, under the PICC.
Capital investment in new water and sanitation infrastructure for the entire value chain, including the refurbishment of existing infrastructure over the next 10 years, is projected to require an estimated R670 billion. Looking forward, we will accentuate our seamless model in infrastructure development to manage the water resource from source to tap and back to source. Our infrastructure build programme will address the challenges of lack of access and the unequal distribution of water resources.
From this water infrastructure perspective, all our programmes - the Accelerated Community Infrastructure Programme; the Regional Bulk Infrastructure Programme; the Municipal Water Infrastructure Grant; and all the large augmentation schemes - form part of our integrated programme intended to achieve our development objectives.
With the completion of the De Hoop Dam our focus is now on speeding up the implementation of the bulk distribution system at an estimated cost of R7,6 billion. Construction of the first pipeline, which connects the Steelpoort River to the De Hoop Dam, is already well advanced.
With regard to the Mooi-Mgeni Transfer Scheme Phase 2, the Spring Grove Dam - which augments the yield of the Mooi-Mgeni system by 60 million cubic metres, increasing the total yield to 394 million cubic metres per annum - was completed in 2013. This scheme benefits the economic hub of KwaZulu- Natal, including the municipalities of eThekwini, uMgungundlovu, Msunduzi, Ugu, Sisonke and iLembe. Work is now being undertaken on the pipeline connecting the dam to the Umgeni System.
We are pleased to inform you that good progress is being made with the preparatory work of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project Phase 2. This includes the advance infrastructure in preparation for the construction of the Polihali Dam. Water delivery from the scheme is planned to commence by 2022. The cost of this project is estimated at R11,2 billion.
We continue to make good progress on the Mokolo and Crocodile River pipeline project. Tenders for the raising of the Hazelmere Dam are currently under adjudication. The raising of the Clanwilliam Dam wall will commence in October this year, at an estimated cost of R2,5 billion. The project is scheduled for completion in March 2017.
As previously announced by the President, work is under way to speedily and urgently intervene at the Mzimvubu Water Project, which entails the development of a multipurpose dam, the Ntabelanga Dam, to supply new irrigation development, as well as the Laleni Dam for hydropower generation. This project will also provide for domestic and industrial water requirements in the Eastern Cape.
Our department also has long-term plans for Greater Letaba. We have initiated the raising of the Tzaneen Dam wall and the construction of the new Nwamitwa Dam for the Groot Letaba River Water Development Project in Limpopo.
Significant progress, especially in the western and central basins around Gauteng, has been made through the Acid Mine Drainage Project. A tender will shortly be awarded for the eastern basin. President Zuma has also reconstituted the Interministerial Committee on Acid Mine Drainage. The regional bulk infrastructure grant is a vehicle through which we endeavour to connect especially previously disadvantaged communities to water sources in order to address their water supply needs. Through this programme, we implement local projects in which we build water schemes, refurbish water infrastructure, upgrade reticulation and distribution systems and wastewater works. This programme continues to make a very significant impact on improving local water security. Currently, 82 schemes are under construction, of which 10 will be completed during this year.
I hasten to add that the municipal water infrastructure grant, which commenced in July 2013, will continue to address backlogs in specific water and sanitation projects, particularly within the 24 priority district municipalities identified by Cabinet.
In presenting this budget to you, I would like to extend my thanks to Deputy Minister Pam Tshwete, my friend and sister and the former Deputy Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform. [Applause.] I also want to take this opportunity to humble myself and express gratitude to the chairperson and members of the portfolio committee, the acting Director- General, senior management and staff of the department for their continued support and recognition of the fact that it is not business as usual.
Kuyasheshwa. [It is not business as usual.]
We need radical transformation. Our people deserve nothing less than the services to which they are entitled.
Hon members of this honourable House, as representatives of the people, your oversight and demand for accountability will spur us on to ensure that we do all that we have to do within the confines of the relevant legislation to assist the achievements of the programmes of government, guided accordingly by the New Growth Path and the National Development Plan.
Together with you, chairperson and members of the committee, we will commit this department to turning the situation around with regard to its financial controls and systems. It cannot be business as usual. Dankie. Ngiyabonga. [Thank you.]
Thank you, hon Minister. I am sure all hon members will follow in your footsteps - you really stayed within your allotted speaking time.
Chairperson, hon Minister Nomvula Mokonyane and all other Ministers present, hon Deputy Minister Pam Tshwete and all Deputy Ministers present, Director-General Balzer and your bigger team Water and Sanitation, comrades, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, both here in E249 and those viewing these proceedings from your comfort zones, allow me from the onset - and on behalf of the ANC - to support this Budget Vote No 38 on Water Affairs. In supporting this Budget Vote, our message to you, Minister, Deputy Minister, your department and all the entities under your jurisdiction, is unambiguous: Continue the good work started by the previous ANC Minister and Deputy Minister. This is work that was started in 1994 to date, reflecting change for the better in the lives of ordinary people. To be precise, in the year 1994, fewer than 5 million black South African households had access to water. By 2012, this number had increased to 11,6 million. Since 1994, no fewer than 13 dams have been built.
Our Constitution must always be our constant reminder and daily conscience that, among other rights, access to clean water continues to be a right for all in South Africa.
Comrades, this Budget Vote debate takes place in the year that is moving South Africa forward through faster water and sanitation service delivery. Accounting Officer, we have no option but to give real meaning to this revolutionary theme.
At this juncture, allow me to pay our respects to all those who have lost their lives through water-related accidents. One death is too many. Every effort must be made to avoid such accidents in our country in the future. This calls for collaboration among various national departments and government in the other spheres.
Minister, we also meet as we apportion this budget in the year that your and my ANC Youth League will be turning 70. It is 70 years since its formation by visionaries like Madiba, Mda, Sisulu and Lambede, among others. During Mandela Month, let us pay homage to the father of our nation, our own ANC president, Rolihlahla Mandela, in whose month this debate falls. Our tribute in honouring the legacy of this giant of our century can only be a continuation of the work started by his movement, the ANC, at its inception: that of uniting African brothers and sisters and changing their lives for the better - nothing less.
Let us applaud President Zuma for his visionary leadership. He saw fit to bring Water and Sanitation together in one department. This move is aimed at synergising these two aspects as we address some of the fundamentals that relate to the dignity of our people.
Colleagues, compatriots and fellow South Africans, the election of 7 May 2014 gave the ANC another overwhelming mandate to further move South Africa forward. Thank you once again to the majority of South Africans for having chosen your movement, the ANC, to continue on its journey towards liberating all South Africans, black and white, oppressors and oppressed, rich and poor. Our people have always understood that our national democratic revolution is inherently radical and its focus has been and continues to be on socioeconomic and political liberation. Water and sanitation, in addition to rural development, health, the safety of our people, education and jobs remain a priority in the socioeconomic transformation of our country. This was the instruction by the 53rd conference of the ANC, which, among other resolutions, resolved that:
We must develop small dams, especially in rural areas, as part of water conservation; We must urgently provide every household with quality, clean water which in the short term may include portable purification tanks and water tanks for rainwater harvesting to promote food security.
This resolution mandates the ANC-led government to give meaning to and realise the goals which are so beautifully enshrined in the people's Freedom Charter.
Fellow South Africans, for the first time in our country, South Africa now has a vision, Vision 2030, under the able leadership and stewardship of President Zuma. Among other goals, our shared vision, through the National Development Plan, envisages a South Africa where every household shall have clean water by 2030.
Minister and team Water and Sanitation, with a committed team Water and Sanitation, this is indeed doable. Our oversight role shall be robust, seeking nothing less than measured progress based on annual achievements towards the 2030 target.
Madam Chair, will the hon member take a question?
No, Chair, I might do so later.
The NDP further clarifies this vision of the importance of water in ensuring inclusive economic growth, poverty reduction and a significant reduction of inequality in South Africa. Colleagues, in keeping with the triple challenge of inequality, poverty and unemployment engulfing South Africa today, our task is bigger than we had imagined.
With this budget we hit the road running. It is expected of us to pass it, to get on with our oversight role and to promote public discourse on the role of water in our society. Agriculture, forestry, beer producers, mining houses, energy producers, tourists, manufacturers, aquaculture, local government, golf players and rural and urban dwellers are all watching us and the steps we shall be taking as we move forward with this Budget Vote.
Maintenance, research, planning and innovation become critical in achieving our set targets. Our growing economy and social development are giving rise to increasing demands for water. Data collation and the interpretation of such data is critical to water management. Without accurate information, the correct picture of the water situation in our country cannot be determined and policy could be compromised. Making water sexy among the youth becomes important in this regard. It requires creativity within Water and Sanitation for this sexiness to be realised. Training in the areas of engineering, economics and finance is vital in this regard.
Hon Minister, section 68 of the Water Services Act provides for the Minister of Water Affairs to establish and maintain a national information system to record and provide data on the development, implementation and monitoring of policy on water services, and to provide information to water service institutions, consumers and the public. All of this is done, mindful of the challenges confronting South Africa, Africa and the world with respect to worldwide changes in climate patterns. Water remains a primary area through which the impact of climate change is felt. Our own NDP goes further in identifying our country not only as a contributor of greenhouse gas emissions but also as being vulnerable to the effects of climate change on health, water and food, with serious impacts on women and children. In this regard, it is critical that we identify and champion mitigation and adaptation in the area of water. Where there is a potential crisis, we must always identify a potential opportunity. Indeed, through research and development South Africa and Africa can be a water-smart country and continent.
Through the Independent Power Producer programme, we have started a process of establishing hydropower stations. The Conference of the Parties, COP 20, must indeed produce tangible results that will take our world climate change negotiations closer to achieving the 1,5C target.
Fellow South Africans, the government has projected a R670 billion spend in water infrastructure for the next 10 years. Partnerships between the public and private sectors will be the only way towards achieving this target, both in terms of monetary and technical participation.
From where we are seated, of critical importance must be public participation, both at national and at other levels of government. A resolution we took in our committee report, among other resolutions, is to engage with the Departments of Public Works and of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Cogta. At this hour of destiny, we need to keep our institutional memory within our institutions. Consultants can therefore not be a solution, but they only augment what government must do through a capable Department of Public Works.
Implementers, as you roll out these infrastructure projects, the training of locals must ultimately lead to the employment of those who are to be trained in the localities. Equally important in these processes must be the promotion of black businesses.
Minister, tariff standardisation has become more urgent in the light of disproportionate billing by respective municipalities. It is about time we distinguished between the roles of a trader and a regulator in the water sector of our economy.
Fellow South Africans, water, like any other precious material in South Africa, has to be preserved. Every drop counts. Like any mineral, it must be preserved for generation upon generation to come. Water is life. Waking up in the morning, you must bathe, brush your teeth, have a beverage, cook and take medication, among other tasks.
In conclusion, with the recent proclamation of the new Department of Water and Sanitation, we look forward to the incorporation of Sanitation in the next 2015-16 Budget. Minister, we also look forward to the achievement of targets, as set out in your annual performance plans. The filling of vacancies that are strategic must be done as a matter of urgent priority by team Water South Africa. Once again, the ANC endorses Budget Vote 38 of 2014, with the estimated spend at R12,5 billion. I thank you. [Applause.]
Chairperson, hon Minister, members of the Fifth Parliament, fellow South Africans, shortly after her appointment, Minister Nomvula Mokonyane said that her tenure will be characterised by ensuring that rural communities have access to water, upgrading water infrastructure and working with residents to conserve this precious resource.
This is a very laudable goal, Minister, and I know you will manage to achieve it. However, to date it has not materialised for most of our people. According to a report by the SA Human Rights Commission, we have a very serious problem on our hands. This report found that the areas that lack water and sanitation mirror apartheid spatial geography.
National averages seem to indicate progress but when statistics are disaggregated, in historically poor areas, they reflect limited access to these services. Lack of water and sanitation has a disproportionate impact on vulnerable groups, including women, children and people with disabilities.
Systemic failures in governance and budgeting, particularly in the implementation of and spending on projects, are very clear. These failures, hon Minister, point to the need for government to evaluate the current models of governance and funding. Water is life. Where there is no water, there is no life.
It is of crucial importance that South Africans have set themselves a target of 100% access to water. It puzzles one's mind to notice how the lack of water conservation has been left unaddressed. There do not seem to be plans to curb this wastage. Most of the local municipalities have not addressed this issue.
Hon Minister, I am sure you will agree with me that when taps are left running, wasting water throughout the night, it is a big problem, yet no one is willing to take responsibility for that. We cannot afford to lose even a single drop of water.
It is appreciated that the Minister has announced the new catchment agencies. We will watch this space, Minister.
Hon Minister, to have the Umzimvubu and other rivers used as catchment areas could be a good story to tell. But why has there been such a long wait? Where is the plan?
It has taken the people of the Eastern Cape and other provinces more than 20 years to have dams built for them. Good plans have always been there but action on the part of national government has been lacking. I hope you will crack the whip, Minister.
Plants and animals cannot survive when there is a lack of water. The whole country watched with sadness and dismay at the manner in which the poor animals on the farm of the hon Chairperson of the NCOP, Ms Thandi Modise, died. Is that a good story to tell? Definitely not!
Dit is skandelik. [That is disgraceful.]
The nation watched and wondered what was happening. As far as we are concerned, the review of the Millennium Development Goals indicators is very important. So far, the review shows that out of the seven MDG targets of halving the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water by 2014, South Africa has achieved only one. The data shows that the target is likely to be met by 2015.
However, the backlog is attributed to an inability to project-manage the dedicated sanitation programmes and the lack of administrative data systems that can be used for monitoring and evaluation purposes. We know how difficult it is, particularly in the settlement areas. So, even though the target is likely to be met, the inherent risks, as outlined, have the potential to derail the meeting of this target.
According to the National Development Plan, the Department of Water and Sanitation should ensure that the implementation of national strategies for water conservation and demand management are properly resourced and enjoy appropriate policy prioritisation across the economy. It is again the stepped tariffs that are important to promote the conservation of water and electricity.
Hon Minister, in the DA-run Western Cape, the value of the DA difference is clear for all to see. In the Western Cape, 99,1% of households have access to piped water and 90,5% have access to flush toilets. As of now, this is the highest percentage in the whole country.
According to the 2012 Sanitation Report, as published by the Department of Water Affairs, the Western Cape and Gauteng are the provinces with the highest percentage of communities with adequate sanitation services. [Interjections.]
Order, hon members!
People have done well there. We need them to go and do the same in other provinces. Why is it that there is progress only in the Western Cape and in Gauteng? [Interjections.]
Government departments cannot sit back and do nothing while people get sick and die from preventable illnesses because of contaminated water, as happened in the North West. The DA will continue to put as much pressure as possible on both the national and provincial departments to ensure that there is urgent action.
Far too many South Africans have lost their confidence in this department and we urgently appeal to the Minister to take this to heart and present this House with a comprehensive strategy to mitigate our risks of consuming contaminated water and to secure our water source for generations to come. I thank you. [Applause.]
Ngibingelela uSihlalo ohloniphekile, uNgqongqoshe wezaManzi nokuThuthwa kweNdle, nabo bonke abahlonishwa esinabo lapha. Ngizocela ukungaphazanyiswa ngoba nami angikuthandi ukuphazamisa omunye umuntu.
Njenge-EFF ngeke impela ngisho ukuthi siyahambisana nalesi Sabiwomali ngoba abantu esijutshwe yibo abanawo nhlobo nje amanzi, izindlu zangasese; ngisho nabasemalokishini, amamitha amanzi abebenawo asiphuliwe bashiywa bengenamanzi, akucatshangwa nokuthi baphuza amaphilisi noma kunabantu abagulayo abadinga ukunakekelwa emakhaya abo.
Sinezikweletu esingazazi ezibiza izinkulungwane zamarandi ezingama-200, umuntu athi uma ecabanga angazi ukuthi yisikweletu muke kanjani! Siphinde sisho nokuthi laba bantu bamathenda abafika bezosebenza bethi basifakela izitamukoko - lapha ezindaweni zethu ikakhulukazi thina bantu abamnyama - sinenkinga ngoba basilethela abantu obonayo ukuthi abawazi umsebenzi, bashiya bengawuqedile umsebenzi kodwa umasipala angakwazi ukuthi ngeke abanikeze imali yabo ngoba umsebenzi awuphothuliwe. Angazi noma baye balandelelwe yini kubonakale ukuthi umsebenzi bawenza kanjani.
Uma ngibuyela la kulento yamanzi, eBhizana, eMpumalanga Koloni, abantu bakhona amanzi ahlanzekile abanawo nhlobo, bawezwa ngendaba, bawakha eziphethwini - sithi yiziphethu-ke thina, angazi abanye bakubiza ngani - bawakha khona bawathwale eamakhanda, kunjalo nje bawaphuza nezilwane! Okwezindlu zangasese-ke khona bakuzwa ngendaba, indle bayilahla ezintabeni.
EGiyani, nakhona banenkinga efanayo ... [Ubuwelewele.] Hhayi-ke phela ngicela ungangiphazamisi! [Uhleko.] OThongathi, e-Fraser, abantu bakhona abanamanzi, akukho ngisho izindlu zangasese. Uma ngingake ngikuthathe nje mhlonishwa ngithi asiye khona, ungafike ubone ukuthi la ngempela asidlali, futhi mina le nto engiyikhulumayo ngikhuluma ngezindawo engizaziyo neningingakuthatha ngiyokubeka kuzona. Ku-Wadi 19 nakuWadi 9, eNdwedwe, into nje ebizwa ngentuthuko ayaziwa! Amanzi bawaphuza nezimbongolo, awekho nhlobo nhlobo amanzi ahlanzekile. [Ubuwelewele.] Ngifuna silalelane kahle, futhi ningangiphazamisi. [Uhleko.]
Uma ngidlula ngiya KwaMaphumulo, eSthuntu naseMakhabeleni, nezinye izindawo zaKwaMaphumulo, amanzi ahlanzekile nje awaziwa, futhi-ke abantu basemakhaya abacatshangwa nakucatshangwa nje, kuyiwa kubona ngoba kuyogaywa ivoti emva kwalokho bashiywe kanjalo, ngisho namakhansela! Baphuza amanzi angcolile, njengoMvoti nje; eMvoti uma lina izulu amanzi ayangcola kodwa bawaphuza khona enjalo ngoba abanakwe muntu. Uma ngidlula lapho ngiya kuMasipala waseMbombela ... [Ubuwelewele.] ... Hhayi! Animeni! Ngangizibukela lokhu kumabonakude, abantu bakhona baphuza amanzi ayisiphethu, alethwa yipayipi enuka phu! Noma uwabheka la manzi awuwazi ukuthi athathwephi. Le nto ikhishwa kumabonakude ibonwe yiNingizimu Afrika yonke, akekho ongayiboni! [Ubuwelewele.] Hhayi wena ujwayele ukuphazamisa, uxolo! [Uhleko.]
Thina njenge-EFF asizimisele ukubona abantu baseNingizimu Afrika beshiywa ngemuva kodwa kulokhu kuthiwa asigubheni le minyaka engama-20 yenkululeko, kodwa kule ntuthuko yabo behlulwa nje ukuletha amanzi, into eyisidingo esiyisisekelo.
Okunye okubuhlungu esikubona kwenzeka, yindaba yala mathenda! La mathenda lawa into yiwona ahamba phambili. Akanakwa, akalawulwa. Nanokuthi uhulumeni yena akukho la eveza khona ukuthi yena umi kuphi odabeni lokuthi umsebenzi azenzele yena ukuze kudaleke amathuba emisebenzi ngoba kula mathenda kuhlomula abantu abambalwa abantu basale bengenawo umsebenzi.
Ngaleyo ndlela-ke mina bengiyocela ukuthi uma silapha, sazi ukuthi yini edingwa abantu. Lezi zindawo engikhuluma ngazo, ngingakuyisa nakuzo; akuwona umdlalo, asidlali njengoba silapha. Engingakujabulela kakhulu ukuthi sicele yena nje uNgqongqoshe sike sihambe naye ngoMgqibelo ... [Uhleko.] ... ngimnikeze nje ibhakede lamanzi, abone ukuthi kubuhlungu kanjani emakhaya, awukwazi ukutshala ... [Kwaphela isikhathi.] [Ihlombe.] (Translation of isiZulu speech follows.)
[Ms M S KHAWULA: Hon Chairperson, Minister of Water and Sanitation, and all hon members present today, I greet you all. I request that I should not be interrupted because I also do not interrupt others. As the EFF, we cannot say that we support this Budget Vote, because the people who mandated us do not have water or toilets. Even as far as those in the townships are concerned, the water meters they had were removed and they were left without water. No consideration is given to the fact that people need water for their medication or that there are sick people who have to be taken care of in their homes.
We have debts amounting to R200 000 but we do not know what they are for. When one thinks about these debts, one cannot comprehend what these are for! We must also mention the issue of these tender people who come to put up septic tanks in our areas, especially in the black communities. We have a problem because they bring us people who do not know how to do the work, and they leave having not completed the work. The municipality cannot say that they will not pay them as a result of incomplete work. I do not know if they are being monitored to check how they did the work.
Now, let me go back to the issue of water. In Bhizana, in the Eastern Cape, people do not have clean water at all; it is just a pipe dream. They fetch water from springs - we call them springs; I do not know what others call them - and carry it on their heads. They share the source of water with animals! Toilets are also a pipe dream; they relieve themselves in the wilderness.
In Giyani, there is a similar problem ... [Interjections.] Please, do not interrupt me! [Laughter.] In Tongaat, at Fraser, people do not have water, and there are also no toilets. If I were to take you there, hon member, you would see that this is serious, and I know these areas that I am talking about - I can personally take you to these areas. In Ward 19 and Ward 9 at Ndwedwe, development is something that is not known! They share drinking water with donkeys; there is no clean water at all. [Interjections.] I want us to listen to each other carefully, and please do not interrupt me. [Laughter.]
Moving on to KwaMaphumulo, in Sthuntu and Makhabeleni, and other areas in KwaMaphumulo - they do not have clean water at all. People from the rural areas are not considered at all; they are only consulted during campaigns for votes, and after that they are forgotten, even by the councillors! They drink polluted water, like in Mvoti; when it rains the water at Mvoti is polluted but people drink it because no one cares about them.
Moving on to Mbombela Municipality ... [Interjections.] Please keep quiet! I saw this on television; people there drink stinking water from the ground, drawn by a pipe! Even when you look at this water you do not know where it was drawn from. This was broadcast on television and was seen by the whole of South Africa; everyone saw it! [Interjections.] No, you are always interrupting; please! [Laughter.]
As the EFF, we are not prepared to see South Africans left behind when it is always emphasised that we must celebrate 20 years of democracy. But though there is development, they are failing to provide just water, which is a basic need.
Another agonising issue that we see happening, is this issue of these tenders! The thing is, these tenders are a priority. They are paid no attention and are not monitored. Government is not clear about where it stands regarding doing the work themselves in order to create job opportunities, because only a few benefit from these tenders and people are left without jobs.
In that way I would request that when we are here, we must know what people need. I can take you to the areas that I mentioned earlier; this is serious, we should not be playing games. It would please me if we were to ask the Minister and go with her on Saturday ... [Laughter.] ... and if I handed her a bucket of water so that she could see how people are suffering in the rural areas. You cannot plant ... [Time expired.] [Applause.]]
Hon Chairperson, hon Minister, hon Deputy Minister, I am new to the Water and Sanitation portfolio. However, these issues are not new to me, nor are they new to the people. I live among the poorest of the poor and I know their daily struggles. Images of women carrying buckets of water on their heads, walking long distances, are all too vivid in my mind. Consequently, I will not theorise about their daily challenges and struggles. However, the question I have is this: What does this budget have for these people? I know that the total for 2014-15 is over R12 billion, which increases to over R17 billion for the 2016-17 financial year. These figures will only be meaningful to the people once they have been translated into tangible projects aimed at changing people's lives for the better, otherwise the much acclaimed "better life for all" will remain an empty slogan.
Let me cite two examples to show how the department has failed in many instances to meet its obligations. Firstly, the Shemula Water Scheme in the Umkhanyakude District has become dysfunctional. The people in the area have not received any water from it for over five years now. Can we imagine what would happen in an urban setting if people did not have water in their households for a period of five years? They would definitely make that area ungovernable. I am not advocating anarchy here but the question remains: Why does the department treat people in the rural areas with such disdain?
While we note that the amount of R603 million, which was introduced in the 2013-14 budget for the municipal water and infrastructure grant to eradicate backlogs in water and sanitation, will increase to R2,8 billion in the 2016-17 financial year, these budgetary increases will be meaningless to the people without strong leadership and skilled personnel at municipal level.
The second example of where sanitation went wrong is in the one-room houses built in Mbazwana under UMhlabuyalingana Local Municipality. The toilets, which have nonworking septic tanks, are inside these one-room houses. The stench is more than that of the pigs on one of the farms in the North West province. Thank you. [Time expired.]
Hon Chair, hon Minister Mokonyane and Deputy Ministers, hon Chairperson of the portfolio committee, friends, guests in the gallery, family of Water and Sanitation, let me take this opportunity to greet you all in the name of the Department of Water and Sanitation. First and foremost I would like to thank the ANC for giving me the opportunity to stand before you today as the Deputy Minister of Water and Sanitation and, most importantly, the people of South Africa for voting the ANC into power to serve the nation. [Applause.]
I would also like to thank the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, where I served as a Deputy Minister in my first stint in the executive. This being my maiden Budget Vote speech as the Deputy Minister for the new department, I want to say that I am looking forward to working with Nomvula Mokonyane, my daughter in the Water and Sanitation family, in bringing quality basic services to the people of South Africa.
The President has asked Minister Mokonyane and me to set up the new Department of Water and Sanitation as part of improving delivery of water and sanitation services to communities. The good story we are telling as the Department of Water and Sanitation will focus on how we have moved forward by increasing the number of people with access to water and sanitation services and how these interventions are rewarding the country with job creation, skills for priority groups and better access to potable water and sanitation. Because of the democratic government leading South Africa today, more than 94% of our people have access to water and 84% have access to a sanitation system, while 81% have electricity and 71% have domestic waste removed from their homes - and these numbers are growing.
Ngeli xesha kulawula i-ANC siza kunciphisa inani labantu abalanda amanzi emifuleni. Kwakhona siyijongile into ebuhlungu eyenziwa ngurhulumente walapha eNtshona Koloni, kuba ebona ukuba ibafanele abantu abamnyama into yokuba babuyele kwezaa zinto sasisithi zitshemba kudala kuthiwa ngopota- pota. Mhla sahamba noMphathiswa uNomvula Mokonyane saya kubona iNkulumbuso yalapha yaba yinto emnandi, wasamkela ngothando wathi nabantu baseKhayelitsha bonwabile ziipota-pota esibanika zona esiziqokelela emva kweentsuku ezintathu. [Uwele-wele.] Khawufane ucinge, uhlale nepota-pota iintsuku ezintathu etyotyombeni ngokuba abanye abantu phaya abanazo ... [Uwele-wele.] Ungandiphazamisi, ndakuxelisa umama we-EFF ... [Kwahlekwa.] (Translation of isiXhosa paragraph follows.)
[Whilst the ANC is in power we are going to reduce the number of people fetching water from the river. We are also monitoring the situation involving the government of the Western Cape, which felt the need to return to the black community what we used to call the "chamber pot", in the form of the porta potti. The day Minister Nomvula Mokonyane and I went to see the Premier of the Western Cape was full of fun. She gave us a warm welcome and told us that the people of Khayelitsha were happy with the porta potti they supplied them with, which they collect after three days for disposal. [Interjections.] Just imagine, sitting with a porta potti for three days because other people do not have them! [Interjections.] Don't disturb me, or else I will do what the lady from the EFF did ... [Laughter.]]
One of the good stories we have to tell is that the department hosted its sixth annual Youth Water Summit. The purpose of the Youth Water Summit is to motivate the youth to study maths, science and technology so that we can build their interest in selecting engineering courses at tertiary institutions, particularly among females. We want to develop more female engineers, Deputy Minister Mduduzi Manana. More than 600 delegates from all nine provinces were hosted this year, including children, educators, sponsors and partners. Towards the end of the Youth Water Summit, an award ceremony was held in which bursaries, laptops and prize money were awarded and a fully equipped media classroom worth R2 million was won by Qumbu Junior Secondary School in the Eastern Cape. [Applause.]
Since the inception of this programme, 46 media classrooms have been won to date and this has made a big difference in rural communities, where the gap between the poor and the rich is being bridged. The winners of the SA Youth Water Prize at the Youth Water Summit will now represent the country at the World Water Week event in Stockholm, Sweden, between 31 August and 5 September 2014.
Ndiyathemba ukuba uMphathiswa uza kundivumela ndibakhaphe abantwana. [I hope the Minister will allow me to accompany those children.]
We are glad to mention the overall winners of this year's Youth Water Prize as three learners from Taxila Secondary School in Polokwane, Limpopo. I would like us to congratulate Nthabiseng Motona, Dipuo Nthane and Tebogo Mamabolo. These students are our winners of SA Youth Water Prize. The innovation that won them the prize looks at purifying rainwater to the level of drinkability.
Kuyakhunyushwa enye into kwelaa sebe. [And they speak high English in that department.]
Indeed, we have a good story to tell. Another good story to tell is that in response to the shortage of scarce skills, the department has a learning academy, which has awarded 648 bursaries since it was established in 2007. The learning academy is a pivotal branch of the department because it injects into society capacitated individuals who will go on to work in water sector-related projects such as infrastructure and conservation.
In the 2013-14 financial year, R12,7 million was transferred to the learning academy for student bursaries relating to science and engineering. I will urge the department to continue employing its own graduates so that we can curb the trend of using consultants consistently.
Siyayilwa into yokusebenzisa ii-consultants, mama we-EFF, ezaqalwa phofu ... [Uwele-wele.] Nalapha kwi-DA zininzi kakubi. [We are against the use of consultants, lady from the EFF, which was initiated by ... [Interjections.] There are many of them even within the DA.]
The backlog in providing water and sanitation is not new. It comes from a colonial apartheid government that deliberately created restrictive and racist laws such as the Natives Land Act of 1913, which caused dispossession and led to millions of people living in informal settlements without access to basic services, like clean water, sanitation and electricity.
Yiyo loo nto namhlanje sine-backlog yamanzi, mama. Basisusa ezindaweni ezazinamanzi baya kusibeka enkangala. Namhlanje babuza kwi-ANC ukuba kutheni, kodwa ukufa kusembizeni phaya kubo. (Translation of isiXhosa paragraph follows.) [That is why today we have a water supply backlog, madam. They removed us from places with an abundance of water and settled us in the wilderness. Today they want answers from the ANC, yet they are the cause of the situation we find ourselves in.]
During the democratic dispensation we banished all racist legislation by putting in its place the National Water Act, Act 36 of 1998, and Water Services Act, Act 108 of 1997, which treat water as a public resource that needs to be sustainably protected and used for social and economic development. In order for the legislation to continually address the needs of our changing society, we have decided to review the amalgamation of the National Water Act and the Water Services Act into a single piece of legislation.
Government's responsibility now is to accelerate the delivery of water and sanitation to communities, especially rural communities. So, we are saying ...
... kubantu basezilalini siyayazi, mama, ntonayo sinama-20 eminyaka qha siphethe. Asizi kwenza umlingo yonke into ilunge ngexesha elinye. Siyayazi into yokuba kukho iimpompo ezingenamanzi kwaye sifuna ukuba sijongane nazo. Yiyo loo nto uMongameli uZuma anyanzelise ukuba aseke isebe eliza kujongana ngqo namanzi ngenxa yokungahoywa kwecandelo lamanzi. Isekwayi-ANC, naleyo ibone loo nto, asiyiyo i-DA, yokuba kubekho isebe elijongene namanzi ukuze sisuse nabaya pota-pota babekwa zizikhohlakali phaya eKhayelitsha. (Translation of isiXhosa paragraph follows.)
[... to people from the rural areas, we are aware of the situation. It's just that we have only been in power for 20 years. Unfortunately, we can't just wave a magic wand and everything is fixed all at once. We know that there are taps that have run dry and we want to address that problem. That is why President Jacob Zuma has pushed for the establishment of a department to directly take care of water affairs. Again it is the ANC, not the DA, that has seen fit to have a department responsible for water affairs so that we can be able to remove the portable porta potti toilets distributed by some heartless people in Khayelitsha.]
The National Water Resource Strategy serves as a clear guide for adopting a better water management strategy. The possibility of a water shortage in South Africa is a reality if you do not adhere to the principles of the National Water Resource Strategy. The current trend is for people in the cities, urban and suburban areas to have easy access to water. Though in many rural areas there are taps for water, some people who are based in the deep rural areas still fetch water from the rivers.
Siyayazi loo nto, sihlala phaya ezilalini. Asifuni kuyixelelwa apha kweli qonga. Ngaphezulu apha phakathi kwethu sinosodolophu waseMbizana, nankuya uyakhuza uthi "Yhuuu!" ngokuba ngokuya sasiqhele ukuya phaya endle ngelaa xesha kwakuphethe i-DA, futhi singenalo nephepha langasese, sisebenzisa ilitye nengca, ngoku abantu ezilalini banezindlu zangasese. [Kwahlekwa.] (Translation of isiXhosa paragraph follows.)
[We know that; we live in the rural areas. We don't want to be told about it on this platform. Furthermore, present here today is the Mayor of Mbizana. There he goes "Oh no!" because at the time the DA was in power we used to relieve ourselves in the bush using stones and grass for toilet paper. However, people in the rural areas now have toilets. [Laughter.]]
Last year, up to R2 million was set aside for a further 12 months to fund the Adopt-a-River programme, which created close to 600 job opportunities. The River Health programme was implemented in 110 rivers in 2012-13 and plans are under way ...
Ndiyayixhasa le Voti yoHlahlo-lwabiwo-mali yeSebe lezaManzi noGutyulo lweLindle. Enkosi. [I support the Budget Vote on Water and Sanitation. Thank you.] [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Hon Chairperson, hon Minister, hon Deputy Minister, hon members, ladies and gentlemen, on the occasion of this very important debate in our institution, allow me to acknowledge that we have a responsibility as public representatives to safeguard this democracy and its institutions, as laid down in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. It is our duty to accelerate the pace of implementing the accountability systems of better performance in service delivery and financial management by fully and properly implementing the management and performance reforms.
Hon Chairperson, it is 100% correct that the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa sets out water resource management as a national competency. It also states that everyone has the right to an environment that is not harmful to their health or wellbeing and that supports socially justifiable economic development. It further states that everyone must have a protected environment for the benefit of current and future generations through reasonable legislative and other measures.
In its manifesto for the 2014 national elections, the ANC-led government committed itself to working with our people and addressing the challenges that we have in the water sector; and to moving forward towards the achievements of the vision of the Freedom Charter. The ANC will continue to work towards universal access to running water by providing access to those who still do not have it. For example, 92% of South Africans have access to potable water, compared to 60% in 1996.
Muxiximeki Balindlela, vaaki va Afrika-Dzonga va le ku kumeni ka mati ku ya hi leswi ku kunguhatisiweke xiswona hi nhlangano lowu nga eku fumeni wa African National Congress. [Hon Balindlela, South African citizens are receiving water as planned by the governing organisation of the African National Congress.]
Hon Minister, while we are aware of all the efforts that have been made, the department also needs to accelerate the rollout of basic sanitation infrastructure and addressing the water challenges in the rural areas and informal settlements. Illegal water abstraction, especially by irrigating farmers, presents a serious challenge.
Muchaviseki Holobye, ntlhontlho lowu hi vaka na wona swinene eka loko van'wana va fanele ku endla swikombiso swa ku pfumaleka ka mati hileswaku van'wamapurasi va yima endleleni. Van'wamapurasi va fika va pfala milambu leyi yisaka mati eka vaaki leswaku va kota ku kuma mati masiku hinkwawo. Ekuheteleleni, mati ma ya cheleta swimilana ku tlula ku nyika vanhu lava va faneleke ku hanya hi wona hikuva mati i vutomi. Loko hi nga ri na mati a ku nga vi na vutomi. Vo tala va lava va endlaka swona hi nga va hi tshamile na vona kwala xikarhi ka hina. Ndzi tshemba leswaku muchaviseki Balindlela va nga va un'wana wa vona. (Translation of Xitsonga paragraph follows.)
[Hon Minister, the challenge that we have is that when others are to make examples of the shortage of water, it is because farmers stand in the way. Farmers block the rivers that supply water to the residents, that they are able to receive water every day. Instead, water is being used to water plants more than it is being distributed to the people for survival because water is life. If we do not have water we cannot have life. Most of the people who do these things, we might be sitting with them in our midst. I trust that hon Balindlela might be one of them.]
We know for a fact that there are regulations that have been set to regulate water. The regulations aim to change the behaviour of water users and water institutions to ensure the sustainable and equitable use, protection, conservation and development of the national water resources. The Minister, as a shareholder in a number of water sector institutions, plays a role in providing strategic guidance and oversight to those organisations, which is different from the regulatory role of various organs of state.
The primary objective of regulation is to continuously improve compliance by water users and water institutions with the rules and authorisations, which could then result in equity in water allocation and access to water for socioeconomic development to redress the race and gender imbalances of the past and reduce poverty.
With all the regulating systems in place, Minister, we need to have the budget complemented with human resources, meaning that we should support the budget allocation for Vote 38 and the filling of all vacant posts.
Laha hi vulavula hileswaku swivandla leswi swi nga kona swi fanele ku pfariwa ku endlela leswaku ku tirha loku hi ku vulaka ka ku fikisela vanhu mati ku ta humelela. Ndzi nga nyika xikombiso hi ku vula leswaku vatirhi vo tala lava va tirhisiwaka eka Ndzawulo ya Mitirho ya Mfumo hi lavakulu. Kutani hi fanele ku langutisa leswaku vatirhi lava thoriwaka eka nkarhi wa sweswi hi lavantshwa, lava nga ha riki na matimba ya ku kota ku yima, va tsutsumatsutsuma va tiyisisa leswaku vaaki va Afrika-Dzonga va le ku kumeni ka leswi swi nga va ringanela. (Translation of Xitsonga paragraph follows.)
[Here we are referring to existing vacancies that should be filled to enable the work of supplying water to the people to be realised. I can cite an example that many of the employees who are working in the Department of Public Works are in their old age. We must ensure that those who get to be employed now are young people, those who still have strength to stand, and run around to ensure that South Africans receive what is due to them.]
In Programme 3: Water Infrastructure Management, your expenditure focuses on existing and new water infrastructure projects; the bulk distribution system of the De Hoop Dam; the upgrading of the pipeline from Steelpoort to Mooihoek; phase 2B of the pipeline from Boshielo Dam to Mokopane; the Umzimvubu Dam; the Nandoni Dam and the Nwamitwa Dam in Greater Tzaneen; and on distribution networks and pipelines. By so doing, we will be creating jobs and rendering services to our communities. As the ANC, we support the budget because it reflects the goals, objectives and targets set for each programme, on a quarterly as well as on an annual basis, and on the trends over the MTEF, both in allocation and expenditure.
Ndza khensa, khanimambo, inkomu. [I thank you.] [Applause.]
Hon Chairperson, if we analyse what has transpired at Mothlagong, Bloemhof and the hundreds of other service delivery protests across the length and breadth of our country that erupt almost on a daily basis, we are actually looking at a microcosm of reality. We see the inability of all spheres of government, whether provincial, national or local government, to deliver and provide the most basic of services - the provision of water and sanitation.
The reality is that government is failing our people. The NDP clearly states that many small and rural municipalities lack the financial and technical capacity to manage water services adequately. One factor is the corrupt practice of cadre deployment and the corrupt manner in which affirmative action is implemented.
Let me make it clear: Deploying to positions of responsibility so-called cadres who do not have the requisite skills, experience or qualifications is a corrupt practice. It is common cause that in many instances persons appointed to government positions in all spheres of government are more often than not appointed on the grounds of political affiliation, regardless of skill, capacity and experience. An audit by the SA Institute of Civil Engineers found that the majority of municipalities had no civil engineers, technologists or technicians.
Last year the SA Human Rights Council reported that it had received 144 complaints over two years about irregular supply and the poor quality of water. In President Zuma's address, promises were once again made to eradicate the remnants of the bucket system, but 20 years later nothing has happened. Cope places the highest premium on government properly securing our water resources and on achieving the delivery of an effective water supply and of sanitation. [Time expired.]
Hon Chairperson, I observe all protocol. The AIC believes that of all the natural resources, water perhaps permeates most deeply into all aspects of life. It is as essential for our survival as the air we breathe. Its presence determines the nature of the natural environment in which we live, and the majority of our economic activities depend on it.
If that is the case, the AIC is deeply concerned about the fact that our rural communities are still in dire need of this natural resource. It is totally unacceptable that after the so-called 20 years of democracy, we still have the vast majority of our people in the rural areas sharing water with animals. This is a clear indication that we do not have value-based leadership in this country. What we have is transactional leadership, which is concerned with self-enrichment through underhand activities. What we have here are microbes of the state. The time has come for the people of this country to rise against lumpen politicians, because if we do not do that, this country is going nowhere.
The AIC is also concerned about the fact that there seemingly is no clear- cut plan for the department to ensure that our rural communities ... [Interjections.] No, don't disturb me! [Laughter.] There is nothing clear- cut in terms of how the department is going to develop rural water infrastructure in our communities. We are greatly concerned.
In conclusion, the AIC will monitor this budget to ensure that rural communities are not undermined and not treated like second-class citizens. We are equal human beings and we must be treated as such. For instance, I am from KwaLunda village, in the Magadla administrative area of Matatiele. As I speak, there is no water there ... [Time expired.]
Chairperson, hon Minister and Deputy Minister, hon members, ladies and gentlemen, our constitutional democracy has advanced the right of our people to equality, to protection against racial, gender and other discrimination, as well as to the progressive realisation of access to the basic necessities of life. In the water sector itself, we have seen a state of major change since 1994, with substantial new policy and legislative changes that define the framework for water and sector management in the country. The provision of safe domestic water supplies has reached 95% of the population, showing remarkable strides since 1994.
Hon Minister, the work of the department has evolved substantially and substantively in the years since the attainment of our democracy. Pieces of legislation and constitutional prescripts, new institutional structures, compliance mechanisms and budgetary aspects have been undertaken systematically to ensure that all our citizens have access to clean water and sanitation.
For South Africa, and in relation to the water sector, the vision of the ANC, through the National Development Plan, government's Medium Term Strategic Framework and the National Water Resource Strategy, among other executive documents, has moved towards the creation of a dynamic, people- centred department. The department, in its current and previous undertakings, leads the effective management of the nation's water resources to meet the needs of current and future generations. The strategic goals, in line with the sustainable development needs of our country, include ensuring affordable basic water, building, operating and maintaining infrastructure and ensuring that institutions are aligned effectively.
Since the advent of democracy in South Africa, there has been the provision of basic service delivery in an equitable manner. The ANC government has made tremendous strides towards that, but more still needs to be done to address the imbalances of the past. In his 2009 state of the nation address, the President of the Republic, the hon Jacob Zuma, said that South Africa is a dry country with limited resources that require careful management so that these scarce resources could be used to extend basic water services to every citizen, while meeting the needs of economic growth without threatening the environmental integrity of water resources.
In relation to water sector management, which I am specifically focusing on today, the intersection of water with every other sector in this country is critical. Therefore, the Department of Water and Sanitation emphasises that the purpose of the water sector programme is:
... to ensure that the country's water resources are protected, used, developed, conserved, managed and controlled in a sustainable manner for the benefit of all people and the environment by developing and implementing effective policies and integrated planning strategies.
How exactly will the department, in translating the above purpose, align its budget, plans and programmes to attain its purpose and goals over the medium term? Over the medium term, the department has identified a number of key objectives to realise the purpose underpinning this programme. This is to ensure that the country's water resources are protected, used, developed, conserved, managed and controlled in a sustainable manner for the benefit of all the people and the environment by developing and implementing effective policies and integrated planning strategies and by developing a knowledge base and procedures.
Over the medium term, water sector management received an allocation of R597,8 million for the 2014-15 financial year, R618,9 million for the 2015- 16 financial year and R689 million for the 2016-17 financial year respectively.
Some of the key objectives and targets prioritised over the medium term for this programme include the following: ensuring that water resources are managed sustainably and that funding is raised for refurbishing existing infrastructure by gazetting the final water pricing strategy in 2014-15; monitoring the national resource strategy implementation and improving the monitoring of water resources; ensuring the equitable allocation of water resources for social and economic development by implementing water allocation reform; ensuring that available water is used efficiently by implementing water conservation and demand management programmes, including sector awareness and mobilisation on an ongoing basis over the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework period; and developing the integrated water quality management strategy. The spending focus over the medium term will be on ensuring the availability of and access to water for environmental and socioeconomic use through planning, developing policies and maintaining data management systems. The bulk of expenditure in this programme will go to activities in the water information management and integrated planning subprogrammes, which perform these activities, at R222 million and R159 million respectively. This spending is related to the strategic objectives of improving water resources and water services information and ensuring the effective performance of water management and service institutions.
Under the water sector management programme, the department has committed to setting the strategic framework for water management in the country, which entails, among other measures, revising and gazetting the raw water pricing strategy for consultation, amending water-related legislation, gazetting the second edition of the National Water Resource Strategy, and finalising the institutional realignment framework. It is also committed to improving the management of water resources through establishing catchment management agencies and assessing the compliance of the 16 water institutions with co-operative governance.
Despite the challenges confronting the water sector, the Department of Water and Sanitation, in relation to water sector management for current and future needs, has begun systematically planning the process to prioritise the huge water demands for equitable allocation to development and economic growth. The water sector in South Africa has a number of ongoing and proposed initiatives that have been established to respond to the sector's challenges. These initiatives include an intervention programme in high-risk areas where there are water challenges.
The department is investing R500 million in this special intervention programme that focuses on the following areas: ageing infrastructure that leads to the discharge of sewage into our rivers; water conservation in water-stressed areas, areas where illegal abstraction takes place and areas with no infrastructure and where communities are vulnerable to waterborne diseases; development of water reconciliation strategies for all catchments; the implementation of the Blue Drop and Green Drop certification programmes for water treatment and wastewater treatment plants respectively; the implementation of water conservation and water demand management programmes; and the implementation of the National Water Services Infrastructure Asset Management Strategy.
Of importance to this sector is the culmination and gazetting of the second edition of the National Water Resource Strategy, which factors in the myriad challenges facing South Africa in the water sector and responds in a measured, constructive and logical way that would ensure, if implemented by all South Africans, that water served as an enabler for economic and social development and not as a stumbling block. The second edition of the National Water Resource Strategy places strong emphasis on the fact that equity in access to water should take place in the context of South Africa's water resources being under increasing pressure in terms of abstraction, habitat destruction and pollution. Climate change adds a dimension of stress to the pressure on our water resources.
In this complex physical, social and economic matrix, the effective management of our scarce water resources requires appropriate strategies, skills and capabilities. The second edition of the National Water Resource Strategy sets out the strategies for achieving such effective water resource management with a particular, albeit not exclusive, focus on the role of the state and, specifically, on the Department of Water and Sanitation as the water sector leader, associated sector departments - the ones that impact water resources and its management, catchment management agencies, water services authorities, water boards, and other organs of state that have a responsibility for water management. It also focuses on the importance of water use sectors to become involved in and commit to effective resource management.
A key issue is that this strategy is developed against the backdrop of South Africa being a water-scarce country and that water security and associated equity must be achieved within specific spatial, physical, technological, financial and governance constraints and challenges. South Africa potentially has sufficient water resources, but these can only be secured through the effective and timeous implementation of extended and smart water management options - which, I believe, the ANC government, through the department and its entities, is doing very well.
The ANC supports this Budget Vote so that our people continue to enjoy access to water and so that those who do not have such access to water could achieve this too. I thank you. [Applause.]
Chairperson, hon Minister, members and guests, South Africa is one of the few countries in the world that enshrines in its Constitution the basic right to sufficient water, stating that everyone has the right to have access to sufficient food and water. However, much remains to be done in this instance.
South Africa is a water-stressed country and is facing a number of water challenges and concerns. Despite being a water-scarce country, South Africa faces high levels of water wastage and inefficient use. In municipalities, nonrevenue water is at more than 36%, on average, and in many municipal supply schemes this figure is even worse, with estimated losses of up to 90%. The President of the country, the hon Jacob Zuma, in his 2010 state of the nation address, stressed that measures would have to be implemented to halve water losses by 2014. Unfortunately, this did not happen. A study on the status of nonrevenue water by the Water Research Commission in 2012 found that only 132 usable data sets could be produced from the 237 local governments. The findings in the study were shocking. The study indicated that there has been a gradual increase in nonrevenue water over the last six years, with the figure now standing at 36,8%. Of this, 25,4% is considered to be lost through physical leakage, or real losses. In terms of loss in revenue, these losses account for more than R7 billion per year. That is enough money to build 14 state-of-the-art hospitals.
As it stands, municipalities are legally required to report and control their water losses as per the Water Services Act. Most of the municipalities are not doing this and, at the end of the day, the consumer pays the price. The need for serious intervention in municipalities is critical and of the highest priority in order to assist in replacing old infrastructure to balance the demands for and supply of drinking water.
Most municipalities are no longer in a financial position to maintain the infrastructure, due to corruption and maladministration. This is also confirmed in the budget report of the department, indicating that they had to support the local government water sector over the medium term by prioritising improvements in 42 water service authorities with Blue Drop risk ratings of above 50% and 55 water service authorities with risk ratings of above 70%; as well as completing 93 interventions to address the lack of water supply, poor water quality and pollution incidents in municipalities. This kind of intervention no longer works. No programmes are put in place to ensure that intervention will not be necessary again. Handing back a treatment plant into the same hands that caused the problem in the first instance is irresponsible and can be seen as a criminal offence.
As we all know, a coin has two sides. With water, it is the same - the delivery of clean drinking water and the treatment of wastewater, better known as sewer treatment plants. In this regard, 55% of sewer treatment plants, especially smaller ones, do not meet effluent standards and some do not even measure effluent quality. With the Blue Drop certification system for drinking water in place, government launched a Green Drop certification for municipal sewer plants.
As of May 2011, seven out of 159 water supply authorities were certified with the Green Drop - a mere 4% - and 32 out of 1 237 sewer treatment plants were certified with Green Drop status. This is only 2,5%. According to Bluewater Bio, an international firm specialising in wastewater treatment, there are 1 600 wastewater treatment plants in South Africa - not all of which were included in the Green Drop assessment - and at least 60% are not meeting compliance requirements. According to a study published in June 2013 by the Water Research Commission, in partnership with the SA Local Government Association, 44% of sewer treatment plants included in the sample used inappropriate and expensive technologies. There is a lack of funding for maintenance, and the absence of ring-fencing of revenue for the purpose of maintaining assets is one of the reasons that municipalities "run assets to failure".
The overall progress on a national scale can be summarised as follows: 440 plants showed progress by taking up lower-risk positions; 323 plants increased their risk levels; and 68 plants maintained their status of 2011. The majority of 241 plants are at moderate risk; 225 are at low risk; 212 are at high risk; and 153 are at critical risk.
Now, I would like to take the Deputy Minister - who had a lot to say about the Western Cape - to the ANC-controlled North West. One example of these critical-risk plants is the Rietfontein plant, which is under the control of the Madibeng Municipality, that was under section 139(1)(b) administration until 18 May 2011. Deputy Minister, that same municipality is, again, under section 154 administration.
Is there an improvement? No. Is this the good story that you want to tell? [Interjections.] The Rietfontein plant discharges water into the Swartspruit River, running into the Hartebeespoort Dam. The water was measured on 12 May 2014 and had an E.coli count of 820 000 particles/100 ml. The maximum count level allowed is 1 000/100 ml for sewer plants.
What is even more alarming is the fact that the previous Minister of Water Affairs, the hon Edna Molewa, stays on the estate where the sewerage is dumped - with her knowledge. It is the same Minister who declared the Brits water purification plant a crime scene in January this year, when four people of Mothutlung were killed for protesting for their constitutional right to clean water - and all we ever hear is, "We will investigate this matter."
The reason for these problems at Mothutlung, Rietfontein and Bloemhof, to name a few, is that South Africa experiences a brain drain and that it also affects the availability of qualified engineers in water and sanitation utilities. The number of civil engineers in municipalities has declined from 20 per 100 000 people staying within municipal boundaries in 1994 to 2,8 per 100 000 in 2009. According to a 2012 finding by the Human Sciences Research Council, one of the reasons is the official policy of cadre deployment, where persons loyal to President Zuma are being given jobs in different branches of government. [Interjections.] This process places party loyalty ahead of competence and demoralises Public Service employees. Skilled staff are concentrated at national and provincial levels, but there is a skills deficit at municipal level. South Africa can no longer afford the high levels of corruption and poor service delivery with yearly increases in water tariffs.
The national government is the custodian of water resources in the country, and government acts through the Minister to fulfil the constitutional mandate. If the Minister and the Department of Water and Sanitation are not going to act against municipalities to stop polluting the water resources, we will follow criminal procedure and use the full might of the law to prosecute those guilty of contaminating our water resources. The Minister, too, will then be held to account.
News headlines read: "Bloemhof's killer water leaves grief in its wake"; "E.coli bacteria in Bloemhof tap water kills infants"; "21 Bloemhof babies admitted to hospital"; and "Minstens 15 babas sterf al in Noordwes weens besoedelde water." [At least 15 babies have already died in the North West as a result of polluted water.]
Is this the ANC's "good story to tell"? [Interjections.]
In conclusion, Minister, the buck stops with you to act and secure South Africa's water resources. I thank you. [Applause.]
Hon House Chairperson and our guests in the gallery, I am conveying sincerest regards to you all on behalf of the glorious movement, the ANC.
Through you, House Chairperson, I would like to say to the hon Balindlela ... ... lona le bale ba ba reng setlhare sa mosotho ke lekgoa ... [Legofi.] ... ANC e go file nako, mme, gore o buse batho ba kwa Eastern Cape. [... to those of you who say a black person performs better when supervised by a white person ... [Applause.] ... the ANC gave you time, so that you can lead the people in the Eastern Cape.] [Interjections.]
Hon House Chairperson, on a point of order: Could the hon member please speak in a language that I can understand? I do not understand the language she is currently speaking. [Interjections.]
Order, hon members! There is an interpreting facility available. [Interjections.] If it is not working, we will check; but there are interpreters at work outside this House, in the interpreting booths.
Mhlonishwa Balindlela, i-ANC ikunikezile isikhathi - nami angisazi isiXhosa, ngizoxuba nje - yakunikeza isikhathi sokuthi ubuse laphaya eMpumalanga Kapa. Kodwa ngoba ubulapho kungenamlungu khona, awuzange ubone ukuthi amanzi awekho nokuthi kwenzekani! [Ihlombe.] Kwaze kwafika ubukhosi babaThembu, yibo abafika laphaya eKomidini LezaManzi bafike bakhuluma ngodaba lwamanzi osukhuluma ngalo manje! Wawukhona, uzihlalele nje ngoba wawufuna kube nomlungu eduze kwakho! [Ihlombe.] Mhlonishwa Khawula ... (Translation of isiZulu paragraph follows.) [Ms J M MALULEKE: Hon Balindlela, the ANC gave you an opportunity - I also don't know isiXhosa, I'll just do code switching. The ANC gave you an opportunity to lead in the Eastern Cape but since you were in a place where there were no whites, you didn't notice that there was no water and you also did not see what was happening! [Applause.] It was only when the Thembu Royal leadership came to the Portfolio Committee on Water and Sanitation and spoke about the issue of water which you are now talking about. You were there doing nothing because you wanted white folks next to you! [Applause.] Hon Khawula ...]
Hon members, we seem to have a challenge: Our interpreting facility is not working. So, I will appeal to members to be patient while we are trying to resolve the matter.
Ngiyabonga Sihlalo. Mina ngiwuMtsonga kodwa ngizokhuluma zonke izilimi. [Thank you, House Chairperson. I'm a Tsonga but I'll speak all languages.]
Hon House Chair, is it parliamentary to make a racist remark like "lamlungu"? [Interjections.]
Awusabazi abelungu manje, lungu elihloniphekile? [Don't you know whites now, hon member?]
Order! Order, hon members! I will consult and give a ruling before the end of the session.
Ngiyabonga Sihlalo, mina ngithe ngiwuMshangane [Thank you, Chairperson, I said I'm a Shangaan.]
Ke bolela ka lekgowa, mme. [I'm talking about the white person ma'am.]
Mhlonishwa Khawula, sivumelana nawe ekutheni kunezindawo ezingakatholi ukuphakelwa amanzi. Siyakuvuma lokho. Phela ubandlululo yilo olwasihlukanisa namanzi, lwawanikeza abelungu. Ukhongolose umatasa uxhuma amapayipi kusukela emadolobheni kuze kuyofinyelela emaphandleni. USihlalo wesizinda sami, uSello Lehari, uthanda ukuthi ... (Translation of isiZulu paragraph follows.)
[Hon Khawula, we agree with you that there are some areas that have not yet received water. We agree with you on that. It is as a result of apartheid that we did not have water as only the whites had access to water. The ANC is busy connecting water pipes from the towns to the rural areas. The Chairperson of my area, Sello Lehari, likes to say ...]
... ikokobetse, o tla godisiwa, gape o tseye nako ya gago.[ ... humble yourself, you will be lifted up, again take time.]
Ngeke sithi sihlale iminyaka engama-300 singenamanzi bese kuthi ... [We can't afford to do that after living without water for 300 years and then ...]
A re leteng, re nne pelotelele. Metsi ao a tlile go fitlha le kwa go rona. Re emisitswe fela ke Tekanyetsokabo ya monongwaga. Fa go kabo go twe t?helete e a tshololwa fano, re ne re tla e phatlhalatsa gongwe le gongwe. Re tshwanetse go dira Tekanyetsokabo gore re itse gore re ya go dira eng monongwaga. Seno, se tla re kgontsha go fitlhelela golo gongwe mo dingwageng tse masome-a-mararo tse di tlang. Ee, mme. (Translation of Setswana paragraph follows.)
[Let us wait, and be patient. Those water supplies will reach our places. We are just waiting for the budget of this year. If it is believed that this is a place where money is given away, we would be distributing it everywhere. However, we should produce a budget so that we will be able to plan for the year. This will enable us to reach every place in the next 30 years. Yes, madam.]
Hon Basson, if I had the powers, I would stand here on the podium and declare an adjournment of this debate. If you were listening to the Minister, you would realise that she addressed everything. She addressed all the issues that you are raising now. You were also a councillor in Madibeng so you must know that being in the opposition does not mean you must oppose everything. You must also advise because those are also your people.
House Chair, will the hon member take a question? [Interjections.]
No, Chair. I will urge hon Basson to get a copy of the Minister's speech and read it slowly. Then he will understand what she was saying. [Laughter.]
What is your good story? What good story do you want to tell?
My good story is that where I am from, in Mathibestad, children who were born from 2004 onwards do not have brown teeth, but those born before that have brown teeth. That is the good story I can tell you. [Applause.]
That is not an ANC story!
It is a good story because we have clean water in Mathibestad.
Hon Chair, on a point of order: Please rule on whether members of the audience, like these officials on this side, are allowed to participate in this debate. [Interjections.]
Order, hon members! As you know, in terms of the Rules of the House, guests in the gallery are not allowed to participate in the debates of the House, but at the moment I do not see any such participation. [Interjections.] We will check and come back to you. Hon members, let us respect the speaker on the podium and allow her to continue.
Hon House Chair, allow me to say, "Together we move South Africa forward." On behalf of the ANC, I wish to approach this debate by reflecting on Programme 6, which deals with international water co- operation, as one of the critical priorities expressed in the National Development Plan - do you agree with me now? [Interjections.]
I hasten to mention that international water co-operation is about international and transborder watercourse management. It outlines how, as a country, we ensure that integrated water resource management is implemented. This implementation seeks to ensure that there is conformity on water protocols and agreements, as prescribed by the legislation that governs water resources in South Africa.
Members of this august House will recall that the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted a series of resolutions such as the observance of World Day for Water in 2000; the proclamation of 2003 as the International Year of Freshwater; and resolution 58/217 of December 2003, which culminated in proclaiming the International Decade for Action, commonly known as Water for Life, for the period 2005 to 2015. In 2010, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted a resolution that proclaimed 2013 the International Year of Water Co-operation. The motive behind this was to highlight the need for water awareness and the conservation of water. It was like a project for the year 2013, a period during which people would be able to work together to address water management across the entire globe - to work together, not to oppose one another.
Following this international directive, and in aligning our actions with the requirements for international water co-operation, the South African government concluded a progressive agreement with Lesotho, as a way of maintaining a transboundary water transfer scheme. This agreement plays a critical role in supplying water resources to South Africa. In addition, South Africa has had a number of bilateral and multilateral protocols with neighbouring countries in an effort to respond to the need to use, conserve and maintain water availability as stipulated by legislation.
For South Africa to manage being a capable state, water sector programmes should be formalised in order to recruit the best crop of candidates who are being trained for public service and who have the requisite skills in water management techniques. Adequate funding will enable government to attract professional staff through the department's learning academy and mentorship programmes, which will help mitigate the impending water crisis, as per predictions. The injection of adequate funds will make this a simple exercise as a way of responding to making the International Decade for Action a reality. It is also in this context that Budget Vote 38 responds to the funding necessary for attending regional and international summits aimed at strengthening international water co-operation.
This august House will note that South Africa is a semi-arid country with low average rainfall reception, compared to Lesotho. Lesotho's average rainfall reception is double that of South Africa. Through this water transfer scheme, our country used approximately 780 million m3. This was transferred to Gauteng over 70 km, via Phase 2 of the Lesotho Highlands Projects in 2012. Would you say that that was a good story to tell, hon Basson?
The ANC-led government is on course in responding to resolutions that are aligned with international water co-operation through the National Water Resources Strategy 2, NWRS, 2. This is an approach driven by the vision of having sustainable, equitable and secure water for a better life and environment for all. In this respect the NWRS 2 ensures that national water resources are managed towards achieving South Africa's growth, development and socioeconomic priorities over the next nine years.
In other words, the ANC-led government is guided by the National Water Act, Act 36 of 1998, and conforms with the call for international water co- operation. Among other measures, the response includes co-ordinated efforts to provide a framework within which water will be managed at regional or catchment level, all defined in water management areas.
This is just one example of the areas of focus expressed in the NWRS 2. I assure all the members of the House that the ANC is positioned well to achieve this because it is guided by its 2014 ANC election manifesto, which makes provision for our commitment to multilateral relations and co- operation. This is yet another face of the ever-working ANC in action, led by razor-sharp brains.
We will continue to be part of international efforts to build a better life for all. Building a better world and a better Africa has always been a critical building block of our commitment to add value for the people of South Africa and the rest of the globe. The ANC will never be ashamed of the tremendous and overwhelming success that has been its glorious landmark in this regard.
Guided and greatly enthused by the provisions of the international agreement on water co-operation, we can pronounce with confidence that we are moving towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals, especially Goal 8, which is to develop a global partnership for development. In more specific terms, it is a means to achieving Target 7A of Goal 7. The target in this goal requires that countries should integrate the principles of sustainable development into a country's policies and programmes and reverse the loss of environmental resources - water, in this respect. Most importantly, target 7B of Goal 7 makes provision for the reduction of loss of the proportion of total water resources used. Our department also stands on a very good platform to make pronouncements on making good progress on achieving Goal 8 - you heard this when a presentation was made in the portfolio committee.
As indicated earlier, our approach to the protection and use of water resources plays a critical role in development and industrialisation. Water is important for development, and the fact that we have measures in place to adhere to international resolutions is an indication that reliably affords the country the status of signatory to multilateral co-operation agreements.
As the ANC, we have an extremely good narrative for the people of South Africa and the rest of the world. We have managed to provide pure and clean water to households in South Africa. By way of illustration, by 2012 a total of 11,8 million households had access to clean water. If this was not a good narrative to the enemies of transformation, then ... [Interjections] ... we would have everything. We need to take them on board slowly by showing them that we mean business.
Massive dams have been built for the provision of water to communities. Who can dispute the fact that water is also good for food security? It is in this context and in the spirit of the ANC's resolute pledge that all efforts and funding will be geared towards improving the lives of the people. Provision of water and sanitation are but an indication that our commitment to realise Vision 2030 of the NDP always remains the driving force in our pursuit to carry out the mandate given to us by over 60% of the electorate.
It should also be noted that, as per the ANC's initiative in the NDP, we will continue to make provision for the conservation of water a prerequisite. Accordingly, this will be achievable, based on current planning, which indicates that water supply and sanitation services ... [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Hon Chairperson and members of the House, thank you for the very vibrant debate and engagement. Firstly, I want to express my appreciation of some of the statements made by the chairperson of the portfolio committee and members of the ANC in the portfolio committee on the assertion of section 68 and that we should all look at the role of Public Works in a developmental state. In so doing, government will have sufficient skills to help us in the area of construction and will reduce the cost of doing business.
Secondly, we acknowledge the issues that we have to deal with regarding recruitment, training, the creation of work opportunities, including business opportunities, for those who have been disenfranchised over time.
I also want to acknowledge what came from members of the ANC in the debate, namely that there is a need to accelerate water allocation reform so that we can ensure that South Africa indeed belongs to all those who live in it. Doing that, our own communities that have been historically disadvantaged will be able to access and have quality water, in both the rural areas and the agricultural sector.
I also agree with members of the ANC in this House who say that there is a need for us to revisit the role of water associations. We know some of them came into being through a negotiated settlement. Twenty years down the line, is it a good story to tell that water associations are constituted on the basis of race and those who felt they were vulnerable when negotiations were taking place in Kempton Park? [Interjections.] We also have to deal with the issues of farmers ...
Chairperson, will the Minister take a question?
Chairperson, I will take the question.
Minister, can you give us an indication of the E.coli levels in Bloemhof that you are denying at the moment? Furthermore, what are you doing about the fact that children died in Bloemhof?
Firstly, we have on record that just six days after my appointment with the Deputy Minister, when this incident occurred, we quickly intervened in Bloemhof. Without grandstanding, we paid tribute to the families of the deceased first, because I am sure that those who are pumping the issue of Bloemhof now have hardly seen the victims; the parents of the kids who have passed on. You are using this as a political football. I am a mother. Any child is my child and that is why we met with the families and encouraged ... [Applause.] ... those families that there will be ... [Interjections.] ...
Order, hon members! Hon Basson, can you please refrain from engaging with the Minister? You have asked your question and she is answering you.
Madam Chair, we even encouraged the families by saying that if they so wished, we would not stand in their way if they wanted to take legal action against the state. One death is one death too many ... [Interjections.] ... hence our interventions. However, for those who are not grandstanding ...
Order, hon Basson!
... they belong to us and those children are mine too. As I have said, any child is my child. Today, as we speak, the mayor is gone. The municipal manager is gone. In addition, we have also been interacting with the families, helping them to cope. Tell no lies, claim no easy victories and do not come here and behave as if you were concerned. [Interjections.] May I proceed, Chair, because I was answering the hon member?
Hon Minister, hon members, can we please refrain from making exchanges without listening to the answer? Members have asked questions; the Minister answered you. The question has been answered. Hon Minister, I think you can continue.
We are also dealing with farmers in the hinterland of our country who are continuously and illegally bridging water from the tanks. We want to take action against them and we are already doing so.
Regarding the Water Research Commission that the DA referred to, I want to say that it is our commission. It is this government's commission. [Interjections.] This commission provides us with alternatives and this commission can help us to contribute ...
Chairperson, on a point of order: Can we ask hon Basson if he is related to Wouter Basson? [Laughter.] He looks very violent. [Interjections.]
Hon members, I will not allow that question to be raised. [Interjections.] Hon Basson, take your seat. Hon Minister, you can continue. Hon members, can we please allow the debate to proceed?
Chairperson, on a point of order: I rise on Rule 63, which says that no member of the House shall use offensive or unbecoming language. [Interjections.] House Chairperson, I submit to you that the question asked by the hon member, whether the hon Basson is related to Wouter Basson, is offensive and he should be asked to withdraw it.
Order, hon members! [Interjections.] This is a very ... [Interjections.] Hon members, can we please allow the Minister to proceed? I will consult on the matter raised by the Chief Whip of the Opposition and come back to you.
Chairperson, on a point of order: Is it parliamentary for a Member of Parliament to wear sleeveless dresses in winter? [Laughter.]
Hon members, can we please refrain from disturbing the debate? Order, hon members! Comrade Johnson, I don't think that is a point of order. I will allow the hon Minister to proceed.
Chairperson, the comment made by that hon member is sexist and offensive. It has no place in this debate. [Interjections.] We have had rulings before in the House regarding references to members' dress code. There have been rulings on it by the Speaker in the NA and I ask that the hon member withdraw that comment. He would never have said that if the hon member he referred to had been a male.
Hon Chief Whip of the Opposition, as I indicated, I have several points of order that have been raised. Before we rise, I will make a ruling on all those orders. Can we now allow the hon Minister to proceed?
Madam Chair, the ANC-led government, unlike other governments, never had a Vlakplaas. We created the Water Research Commission. [Interjections.] We continue to draw intelligent information from the research commission to ensure that we provide alternatives that are able to take us forward in terms of the provision of water and sanitation in South Africa.
The report of the Human Rights Commission, HRC - not the Human Rights Council, hon Madisha - is but one of the documents that emanated from its oversight work, a document that we greatly welcome. It is a means that will help us. As we have said, on 1 and 2 August, we are going to invite the water family so that we can develop a better way forward and to respond to all the other issues that have emerged from the diagnostic report that preceded the New Growth Path. We will also respond to issues that emerged from the work we did when we were doing door-to-door visits in our communities; from the report of the commission; and from the oversight work that is done by Parliament.
Firstly, one of the sad situations about these hon members in this House - it happened a few months ago - is that people will come up onto the podium and yap about why there is no story to tell. However, today, the people of South Africa have vindicated us and the ANC was brought back into office to lead the fifth administration. [Applause.]
Secondly, it is of importance that if you look at the percentages in terms of the electorate, you will see that we are not tourists in the rural areas. If you talk about Umzimkhulu, Mfulamhle, that is where we come from. If you talk about Thafalehashe in Mqanduli, that is where we come from. If you talk about Tswaing, that is where we come from. We don't just come in and jump up and down and so forth because we want votes and then we leave. No, unlike leaders of other political parties, we do not do that.
We also want sustainable interventions. Sustainable interventions are not a portable toilet. People don't understand because they have never experienced what it is like to have a portable toilet in a single room with them, uncollected for three solid days. Then you come here and show off about the good work of the DA! It is in the white suburbs - not in Khayelitsha. It is not in Lwandle. [Interjections.] Therefore, what we must really appreciate is that the DA in this House ...
Hon Chair, will the hon Minister take a question?
Chair, I will take a question.
Chair, I just want to know if the hon Minister is aware of a settlement called Silvertown in the Eastern Cape, where the portable toilets were left uncollected for four months. The people had to live with that and dig their own pit latrines.
Two wrongs don't make a right. What has gone wrong in that settlement does not justify your ill-thought-through interventions here in Cape Town. We are intervening in that municipality. We do not shy away from that, actually. As I am saying, two wrongs don't make a right. We are aware of that situation, so watch this space. That is why we have a bucket eradication programme.
We cannot try to justify portable toilets being kept in people's homes as dignified. [Interjections.] We will deal with it. We will deal with it, irrespective of whether it is in an ANC-controlled municipality or here in the Western Cape. South Africans deserve better. [Applause.]
I want to respond to the continuous yapping by members of the opposition on issues of corruption. [Interjections.] Just hear me; just lend me your ears! A project company, called Filcon Projects, was liquidated in the United States of America. The owner of this company, Mr Saul Loggenberg, has been barred in Britain from serving as a company director until 2024, but as I am talking to you, the very holier-than-thou DA here in Cape Town has given that company lucrative business deals.
I am not fabricating this story; it is on the record. Tell no lies, claim no easy victories, and account for the R3 billion you have used on consultants! An amount of R3 billion was used by the Western Cape on consultants and they are not able to fill critical posts. In addition, more than 80 engineers came here and they refuse to serve our local communities in the rural towns and municipalities. They are all locked up here in the municipalities because it is a white laager. We need to talk about these stories. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Hon members, I knew the water issue was a critical issue in our communities. [Interjections.] Order, hon members! [Interjections.] I did not realise that it would get so heated! Three points of order were raised during this sitting. Having consulted on the matter, I would like to make the following observations.