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SA Human Rights Commission to conduct provincial inquiry on access to water in KZN

The issue of poor or no access to water remains a current day-to-day challenge for many residents, communities, schools, businesses, and other organisations across the province and these challenges have been highlighted to a great extent by various media reports. Picture: Bongani Mbatha /African News Agency (ANA)

The issue of poor or no access to water remains a current day-to-day challenge for many residents, communities, schools, businesses, and other organisations across the province and these challenges have been highlighted to a great extent by various media reports. Picture: Bongani Mbatha /African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jun 23, 2022

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Durban — Next month the South African Human Rights Commission’s KwaZulu-Natal provincial office will conduct a provincial inquiry on access to water in the province.

The inquiry will run from July 4 to 15.

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The commission said in recent years, the KZN provincial office had been inundated with complaints relating to challenges with access to water in various districts in the province. This issue of poor or no access to water remains a current day-to-day challenge for many residents, communities, schools, businesses and other organisations across the province and these challenges have been highlighted to a great extent by various media reports.

“Most municipalities’ responses to the complaints are inadequate in that they are unable to provide appropriate and sustainable redress to the affected communities,” the commission said.

“As such these complaints amount to a prima facie violation of the basic human right to have access to sufficient clean water and given its far-reaching impact on all affected communities, there is a need for a strategic intervention to address these challenges in the short, medium and long term.”

Lindiwe Mgobhozi fetches water on the side of the gravel road at Sonkombo. She says they have been struggling to get water since before the KwaZulu-Natal April floods water tankers don’t even come to the their area in Ndwedwe. Picture: Bongani Mbatha African News Agency /ANA

The commission said the inquiry would inquire into, make findings, report on and make recommendations and/or directives concerning the following broad and overarching issues for investigation:

  • The extent of the challenges experienced by the communities in KZN relating to access to clean drinking water;
  • The systemic nature of the violations;
  • The extent to which the organs of state have respected, protected, promoted and fulfilled the right to sufficient water;
  • The reasonableness of measures including legislation, by-laws, policies and programmes adopted by organs of state to ensure the realisation of the right to sufficient water;
  • Ultimately the aim of the inquiry will be to determine whether the water service authorities within the KwaZulu-Natal have violated residents’ rights to access clean drinking water, as provided for in national legislation as well as in the Constitution.
The issue of poor or no access to water remains a current day-to-day challenge for many residents, communities, schools, businesses, and other organisations across the province and these challenges have been highlighted to a great extent by various media reports. Picture: ANA Archives

The inquiry will be presided over by a panel that will comprise Commissioner Philile Ntuli as panel chairperson, Commissioner Chris Nissen as panel deputy chairperson and external experts co-opted or appointed by the panel if required.

The commission invites submissions from those who have information that can assist in this investigation. It will accept both written and oral submissions from identified government departments, state entities, business chambers, communities and other interested parties for the purposes of the inquiry.

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Interested parties who wish to make submissions, may do so by no later than July 15:

PO Box 1456

Durban

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4000

The inquiry will be live-streamed on the commission’s website, Facebook and YouTube pages.

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