NEWS & ANALYSIS

Lindiwe Sisulu’s Covid-19 Water Scheme ends up as ’dry run’ exercise – Leon Basson

DA MP says it is one thing to supply 17 000 water tanks to communities, another to keep them filled

Sisulu’s Covid-19 Water Scheme ends up to be a ’dry run’ exercise - DA request SCOPA to investigate

20 May 2020

The Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation, Lindiwe Sisulu has failed to address water shortages in communities all over the country.

The delivery of 17 000 water tanks at a cost of more than R300 million to vulnerable communities is nothing but wasteful expenditure when these tanks are not filled regularly and consistently.

The Minister in her own words called on all of us to “rally around the government’s call to wash our hands frequently in order for us to defeat the scourge of Covid-19.”

But how can we do that if we do not have access to clean water?

The DA challenges Minister Sisulu to explain how communities must protect themselves against the Covid-19 virus when her department delivered water tanks to municipalities that are incapable to correctly installing the tanks and to ensure that these are filled with water.

It is bizarre that Minister Sisulu opted to put faith in ANC governed municipalities to service water tanks now when they have been failing at it for more than 25 years.

In Mbizana in the Eastern Cape emergency tanks are dry, and have only been filled once since delivery;

Clinics in Port Elizabeth do not have water and patients had to be turned away;

Areas in Moretele, North West, have not received any assistance with water tanks while many villages struggle without water;

In Letlhabile, Madibeng, a 5000 litre water tank installed at the largest graveyard at a cost of R20 000 was stolen.

The response to Covid-19 has huge implications to communities all over the country.

Minister Sisulu is deliberating with National Treasury to secure an additional R831 million to continue with her Department’s intervention in municipalities, where they cannot even do the basics by filling the water tanks.

Minister Sisulu likes to remind us of her state intelligence credentials, she previously served as Minister of Intelligence. She likes to claim that she is an “intelligence officer of the highest rank”, yet she fails to use this intelligence to protect the people against corrupt municipalities not delivering the basic needs of water.

Minister Sisulu’s emergency water programme is nothing but a "dry run" exercise.

There are empty tanks standing all over the country. How can parents then trust the Department to improve water and sanitation facilities at 3 475 schools across the country before schools reopen on the 1st of June 2020?

The DA insists that infrastructure upgrades performed during the pandemic must provide long-term benefit to communities. The Democratic Alliance will request the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) to investigate the emergency expenditure incurred for the delivery of water storage tanks to municipalities and if indeed communities enjoyed any benefit from it.

Issued byLeon Basson,DA Shadow Minister Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation, 20 May 2020