The Minister of Water and Sanitation Senzo Mchunu has issued a rallying call to officials at National, Provincial and Local Government levels to work speedily and in a coordinated manner to complete the delayed water infrastructure projects in Limpopo.
He was speaking on the first of his three-day visit to Limpopo where he is meeting different stakeholders to assess water and sanitation challenges from Tuesday, 07 September 2021.
Mchunu was joined by his deputies, David Mahlobo and Dikeledi Magadzi, and provincial government led by Premier Stanley Mathabatha to devise means to improve the provision of water and sanitation services in the province.
Outlining the rationale for his visit to the province, Mchunu said that access to water is not a privilege, but a basic right that everyone must enjoy, and it is government’s constitutional mandate to fulfill this right.
Decrying delays in the completion of infrastructure projects, he said government at all levels is committing a cardinal sin by having projects that take long to finish, trampling on people’s rights in the process.
“We need to plan better; we need to do better than we have been doing in the past and work for the people by fast tracking projects within the allocated budget. It cannot be correct that projects take longer than they are supposed to, notwithstanding some of the challenges that come along the way, but some of the challenges are our own creation”, he emphasized.
Furthermore, Mchunu indicated that the plight of the communities without water, especially the communities residing next to the dams is deplorable and it should not have happened to start with. Expressing his disapproval of this, he said things should be done differently to realise the National Development Plan ideals and the Sustainable Development Goals, to provide water and sanitation services to all.
Interacting with Premier Mathabatha, Mchunu recommitted the Department under his leadership to work tirelessly to improve the lives of the people; but he said National Government cannot do this alone, Provincial and Local Government needs to come on board.
“We need you to make us to account if we are failing in our mandate and we will certainly take you to task from our end if we feel that you are failing on your part. This is not about us, but it is about the people getting services that they so deserve. We need to treat our communities with the dignity that they deserve”, he added.
Mathabatha applauded Minister and his team for the engagement and said this is a welcome intervention that they needed because they are faced with many of challenges that need concerted efforts to resolve.
“We have had previous ministers who visited the province over the years, and we have agreed that much work still has to be done in order to enhance the delivery of water and dignified sanitation in the province. We are confident that with you Minister, wheels will be set in motion,” said Mathabatha.
Mchunu followed with a meeting with Lepelle Northern Water Board to outline projects they are busy with in the province and the challenges they are facing in the implementation thereof, and what capacity they need.
He sternly called on the Department’s officials to introspect and check their moral compass as they work towards carrying out their duties.
“I urge you all to deliver services to our people with vigor and the best of your ability. In 2021, we cannot afford to have people in Limpopo who are still without consistent water supply,” he said.