The uMkhanyakude District Municipality recently hosted its 1st water summit, where all local municipalities were gathered to put their heads together to make sure that everyone has access to clean water. UMkhanyakude District Municipality is one of the 23 District municipalities in the country affected by water shortage.
The summit invited water leaders to address the issues faced with the Jozini area in terms of proper sanitation and water supply and also looked intently at resolutions on how the invited parties can work towards a clean and better future for the municipality.
The Jozini dam is the third largest in South Africa with a capacity of supplying over 2 million people and it is a misfortune that almost three quarters of the population in the uMkhanyakude District Municipality still do not have running water in their homes.
The impact of climate change is being felt first through the District water systems, the competition of water as the demand for energy, food, fibre and mineral resources increases and the water infrastructure deficit is widening rapidly as a result of accelerated weakening public finances were amongst the main issues discussed.
UMkhanyakude District Municipality Mayor Councilor SJ Vilane pleaded with the delegates to not make the summit just another conference but an assembly to put a well documented plan to solve the backlog of water supply. “It is a fact that people in the uMkhanyakude District still share their water with livestock, and the people in the area are still far to experience the riches that are taken lightly in the city” said Vilane.
Economic Development and Tourism MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu said South Africa has been in democracy for only 19 years and uMkhanyakude is one of the districts where the government far lacks behind with the levels of poverty found in the district and high amount of households led by unemployed women. After raising that point Mabuyakhulu also pointed out that it is time that communities started working with the government to facilitate and quicken service delivery.
“The figures are clear with the state of development in the district, we are facing issues that are beyond armchair critics why we are here to work together and stop pointing fingers.
Even though plans to construct water supply and sanitation in the uMkhanyakude District have failed in the past, this summit is to make sure that all that is discussed will be implemented.
Deputy Mayor Councilor C.G Swartz sharing the statement of purpose for the summit said they do not need handouts but they need a practical plan to be implemented to ensure that sanitation is at a standard. “Clean water and sanitation is one of the basic rights and no community or person deserves than the other”. Concluded Swartz