Some fourteen civil society organizations in South Africa have initiated a campaign for the supply of clean drinking water to all parts of the country.
The CSOs are particularly worried about water supply to Eastern Cape where residents have been struggling to access potable water in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
They have strongly criticized the South African government for failing to respond to warnings about the poor water supply in some parts of the country.
The Centre for Applied Legal Studies at the Wits University has observed that the problem of poor water supply has worsened over the past three years with a devastating drought plaguing large parts of South Africa.
According to the centre, many municipalities, already wracked by mismanagement and corruption, have completely failed to deliver the water their constituents need to survive in accordance with constitutional provisions.
The Executive Director at Afesis-corplan, a development NGO Nontando Ngamlana said government must listen to the concerns about water supply.
“Part of what we are doing here today is to say to government: At some point we need you to listen. Recognize our voice and our struggle. Recognize that we have been resilient for so long.
We are exploring litigation as a way to amplify our voice and find a short term solution… As a collective we cannot say this loud enough. This is what is in our heart,” said the executive director.
A Member of Parliament Bantu Holomisa is asking the South African government to offer greater assistance to affected communities.
“We need to politicize this project as much as possible … I sometimes think ordinary South Africans don’t know how precious water in this country is, aside from some urbanites who feel inconvenienced when there are water restrictions.
As a long-term strategy, we can look at importing water from water-rich African countries, like Nigeria, Congo and Cameroon, and have it shipped in along the coastline. Water infrastructure development, however, must be prioritized” the MP said.