Johannesburg – Two-thirds of South Africa’s municipalities that supply drinking water seem to be failing to provide water which, meets the requirements and are also failing to test their water according to data shared by the department of water and sanitation.
According to data collected and shared by the Department of water and sanitation, out of the 144 municipalities that treat and supply drinking water to about 22 million people, 94 of those municipalities are failing to treat and supply water.
During an interview with Dudu Ramela on Newzroom Afrika, Department of Water and Sanitation spokesperson Sputnik Ratau said “The data that Groundup is using is data that the department is still collecting, in order for us to make the assessments and do the finalisation of the blue drop report, which we are going to be issuing in March 2023.”
Ratau added “We are still collecting the information and the report is not the final report. What we have agreed to do is to make it available to the public so that everyone who is interested, is able to see what the status is in the municipalities that serve them.”
It was also revealed that about 81 Municipalities had drinking water that was contaminated with sewage treatment.
112 of the municipalities that supply drinking water are also responsible polluting streams, rivers, and oceans with untreated or partially treated sewage.
Ratau said “Some municipalities still have to give us reports based on what is ongoing within the municipalities, this is for us to see what they are doing and what is going on so that we can know how we can intervene.
“That is part of what we call the water services improvement programme. We realised that is a necessity within the department so that we can identify these issues and attend to them in time. This information is still fresh and is a work in progress.”
The interventions by the Department are determined by the challenges faced by the municipality at hand, whether that be a capacity issue or an availability issue or lack of skills, amongst many others.
“We have noticed that the issue of skills and issue of capacity are amongst the main issues that are a hindrance in the performances of municipalities.”
“Whatever the issue may be, the department is hard at work to ensure that municipalities improve.
“The responsibility that we have is around the availability of bulk services which we do very well through our water boards and so on, which by the way, the quality of treated water in South Africa is still of a well standard.”
“The legislation allows us to intervene in collaboration and in partnership with the municipalities. We also have the deputy director general for water services who is able to deal with that particular situation.”said Ratau.