OPINION

Drought: Govt’s dam negligence exacerbating suffering - Tarnia Baker

DA MP says sluice gates of KZN's Hluhluwe Dam left open for 6 days despite it being only 20% full

Drought: Government’s negligence of dams is exacerbating suffering

20 January 2015

Earlier this week, the DA discovered that the sluice gates of Hluhluwe Dam in KwaZulu-Natal have been left wide open for over 6 days, leaking out millions of litres per day whilst the dam is at a meagre 20% of its capacity. This gross negligence by the ANC managed municipality is the exact cause that is worsening the vast suffering being experienced nationwide, due to water shortages.

The DA, has been in contact with the Minister of Water and Sanitation, Nomvula Mokonyane’s office, requesting that she immediately order uMhlathuze Water – the incumbent water board for the region- to hastily close the sluice gates. It is shocking that whilst millions of South Africans, are languishing without clean water, Minister Mokonyane’s department is allowing drinkable water to go to waste.

Minister Mokonyane should be on top of this egregious waste of water but she is too busy assisting in electioneering for the ANC by dilly-dallying with the release of the Blue and Green drop reports.

Even worse, the DA encountered indifference and cavalier attitudes when reporting the dam leakage to the municipality, no one seemed to care that the potable water was being wasted. It has been over 2 days since filing our request and the gates were only closed 10 hours ago, it is obvious that the ANC-government does not care about the lives of the poor - who will be forced to survive without food during this drought. 

Elsewhere in the country, Nelson Mandela Bay Metro Municipality is losing 42.3% of its water to leakages, a direct consequence of the government’s lackadaisical water infrastructure maintenance programme. It is untenable that farmers are having to declare bankruptcy due to dying crops whilst the same municipalities tasked with safe guarding its communities are showing reckless disregard for this precious resource and adding to the suffering.

The DA will continue to hold government officials accountable for what is truly reckless management of state resources. We will fight for the livelihoods of the poor and their access to clean water, as we believe that no community in South Africa should have to suffer unnecessarily due to inadequate service delivery.

Statement issued by Tarnia Baker MP, DA Member on the Water and Sanitation Portfolio Committee, 20 January 2016