The Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma noted with concern the community protest in QwaQwa, Free State Province over the shortages of water. It is this frustration with water shortages this has now seen communities of QwaQwa taking to the streets of Phuthaditjhaba, barricading roads and setting tyres on fire and thus in the process destroying valuable infrastructure and properties that assist them. Minister Dlamini Zuma has therefore called for calm and restraint. “South Africa officially recognises equitable, safe drinking water as human right. We also agree with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which ambitiously challenge us to provide this right to all”, said Minister Dlamini Zuma.
The current protest in QwaQwa, Maluti A Phofung Local Municipality has firmly placed human right to water in the spotlight. It is regrettable that this unfortunate challenge which is a results of the negative impact of climate change that led to drought conditions has negatively affected the Mofumahadi Manapo-Mopeli hospital as does not have water supply and this is endagering the lives of the patients. “It is unacceptable that a health institution which is meant to assist communities does not have access to clean running water”, said Minister Dlamini Zuma.
The challenges of water shortages faced by the community of QwaQwa and other areas in our country, is unfortunate and fly in the face of government efforts to provide a better life to our people. ‘As government, we believe that every South African has to access water, hence the current accute shortages QwaQwa are currently being addressed”, said Minister Dlamini Zuma. Efforts to ensure water reaches communities in this area are currently unfolding.
In addition, to respond adequately to the challenges, Minister Dlamini Zuma has engaged the ladership across the spheres of government and other stakeholders in the Free State. Following these engagements, the Deputy Minister Tau of CoGTA and the Deputy Minister Mahlobo of Water and Sanitation Department have been deployed to QwaQwa in Maluti A Phofung to provide onsite support and where the need arise, they will be able to unblock any bottlenecks that might exist to ensure that communities have access to clean drinking water in the area. Their visit will also assist to further facilitate efforts to ensure water is available in the future.
In meeting its obligation to protect human rights, South African government will continue to engage key stakeholders in an effort to find a lasting solution to this challenge.
The Minister called on all stakeholders to come together to address this water shortage challenge in an effort to bring to an end such unfortunate situations.
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Issued by the Ministry for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs