‘South Africans cannot be bystanders on water issues’

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The evidence of water scarcity is overwhelming all over the world. In the past, most conflicts fought over the world were of discrimination; and it is clear that if we do not take action right now, beyond doubt the next war to be fought will be over water.

Most of us only notice water when we need it, but do you know that water is continuously flowing?

If not used by you then it is used by someone else. Today the world has become a smaller place in terms of engagements over water, and most platforms encourage comprehensive participation in water management.

We always witness the Minister of Water and Sanitation, Nomvula Mokonyane, in the media pronouncing on water issues. But do you know that Mokonyane together with our President, Jacob Zuma continuously searching for solutions and engaging with the global community to ensure that poverty is eradicated and that we can live a better life?

Recently, President Jacob Zuma was in New York during the High Level Panel on Water, setting a direction on water and calling for a better participation of the global community. We talk of South Africa’s National Development Plan (NDP) which is aligned with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and how it acts as the vehicle in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in South Africa. Do you know that President Jacob Zuma also attended the G20 Summit in China which among others prioritises taking urgent action in combating climate change and its impacts?

Recently in Stockholm, Minister Mokonyane met with the World Bank and the Dutch Government from Holland about investments on further innovative solutions for dignified sanitation. South Africa is also working with Sweden looking at purification of water and the demand for Waste Water Treatment Works. It is not unexpected of course that currently South Africa is complementing the African Minister’s Council on Water (AMCOW) in ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all in Africa. A lot of work which involves countless international engagements is taking place.

Now what is our role as South Africans, because water is not just about technical issues only but is also about us as people managing it? Are you the champion to lead the community against saving water, vandalism of water infrastructure? Are you as well calling on those who connect water illegally into order? My point is that as South Africans we have a role in changing our own lives through saving water. With leaders in the water business engaging globally, why a nation such as ours cannot implement water saving techniques that are meant to benefit us?

Many people don’t realize it yet, but establishing our own water committees in consultation with our councillors and municipalities has a huge potential for promoting better cooperation between the public and Government on issues of water, and that in turn will bridge the information gap about this precious resource, especially since it is a basic human right.

KatlegoMokaila is the Communications Manager in the Department of Water and Sanitation, in North West Province. Mokaila’s views do not necessary represents the newspaper’s views or any stakeholders attached to it. This remains her views.   


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