Planned water cuts by DWS disappointing – SAMWU

Union says Minister should have taken into account the ramifications, particularly on the working class and poor

SAMWU disturbed by planned water cuts by the DWS

28 November 2017

The South African Municipal Workers’ Union SAMWU has learnt with disappointment the plans by the Department of Water and Sanitation to cut off water supply to over 30 municipalities, an evil plan which would essentially leave millions of South Africans without water which is by the way a basic right.

It is very disappointing that Nomvula Mokonyane, the Minister of Water and Sanitation as someone who has ambitions of being in the national leadership of ANC could hatch such a plan without taking into consideration the ramifications particularly on the working class and the poor.

We understand that the country is facing water crisis, we are however of the view that this water crisis has been engineered particularly by the Department of Water and Sanitation under the leadership of Mokonyane who has deliberately delayed the Lesotho Highlands Water Project allegedly so her cronies can benefit from some of the contracts.

This is the same department which owes billions of rands to contractors and has shown no commitment to paying those contractors essentially leaving workers without a paycheck. This is also the same department which has failed to release the Blue and Green Reports for the last 5 years, also disadvantaging workers who get incentives for achieving the results.

Minister Mokonyane needs to be reminded that municipalities do not exist for profit making but their constitutional mandate of the delivery of services. It would therefore be immoral, unethical and evil for anyone to even think of interrupting water supply as an attempt to force municipalities to pay their debts.

Municipalities are by the way heavily underfunded and expected to deliver services to South Africans on a shoestring budget of less than 10% of government expenditure. The Minister should rather be advancing an idea of how municipalities can better be strengthened so to ensure that they continue with their constitutional mandate instead of leaving South Africans without water in their homes.

As we prepare for our salary and wage negotiations, we will ensure that we urge the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and the South African Local Government Association to urgently meet with the National Treasury in a bid to ensure that municipalities are prioritized when allocation of funds is made. We are of the view that until such a time that municipalities get a fairer equitable share from National Treasury, service delivery will always be compromised.

Issued by Papikie Mohale, National Media Officer, SAMWU, 28 November 2017