Law in pipeline to force SA municipalities to maintain water infrastructure

By Paul Vecchiatto, Bloomberg


Photo credit: Thomas Hawk / Foter / CC BY-NC
Photo credit: Thomas Hawk / Foter / CC BY-NC

The South African government is preparing a draft law to force municipalities to devote 15 percent of their annual budgets for the maintenance and operation of water infrastructure, its water minister said.

“We are working with the National Treasury to see how this can be done as there are serious issues with aged infrastructure at local authorities that have not been properly budgeted for,” Water Affairs and Sanitation Minister Nomvuka Mokonyane said Thursday in Cape Town.

Issues around local access to water have been at the center of delivery protests. Among the most serious were those in January in Madibeng in the North West province. The province has accounted for 10 percent of South Africa’s service delivery protests, according to a January report from MunicipalIQ. Of these 42 percent raised water as a grievance, it said.

Municipalities are responsible for the supply of water to South African residents. Many municipalities, especially those in rural areas, have failed to maintain aging infrastructure or build new water supply facilities though as the population expands. The municipalities have also struggled to supply areas during the apartheid era that had no running water.

“The drought in some provinces, such as the North West, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo, have added to the infrastructure problems and the quality of water has also deteriorated,” Mokonyane said.

[box]SEE ALSO: Water shortages loom for SA: worst drought in two decades, May 2015[/box]

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