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No water to nourish freedom

Published Jun 21, 2022

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Durban - Gqeberha has reached Day Zero, Durban starts water rations lasting for a year from Monday, and it appears the Free State is also experiencing a water crisis.

It is well known that South Africa is a water-scarce country.

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It is also well known that water and electricity provision worked well under apartheid, largely because neither was being supplied to the majority.

Under democracy the ANC has provided both to many of the had-nots, but without doing much to improve or maintain the infrastructure to keep up with the exponentially increased ‒ and increasing ‒ demand.

Gqeberha is in the midst of a drought which has lasted some seven years, seven years which successive ANC governments had to plan to mitigate the crisis which has now descended, but during which they did nothing.

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With more than 500 000 people, their livestock and vegetable gardens in Gqeberha all poised to suffer, the best the municipality could muster was an appeal for residents to pray.

While it is said that effort without prayer is of no force, most religions agree that prayer without effort is also of no use.

And it is here that the ANC has failed miserably.

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Instead of investing in upgrading and maintaining infrastructure, installations are sabotaged so that water tanker contracts can be issued.

Where the international norm for “acceptable” water loss is in the region of 20%, there is barely a South African municipality which can claim a lower figure than 40%, leaking water and sewage pipes testifying to the nationwide neglect and degradation.

As they continue to do in Durban, once again it is left to humanitarian organisations like Gift of the Givers to lead the way in Gqeberha, its teams commencing drilling boreholes this week.

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The ANC has displayed little of the foresight required as leaders of a nation, except in its members’ ‒ the innocuously named “deployees” ‒ rapacious and creative efforts to get their fill at the trough.

Before his execution, Solomon Mahlangu famously said: ”My blood will nourish the tree that will bear the fruits of freedom.“

To its undying shame, the ANC has not been able to replace blood with water after nearly 30 years of freedom.

The Independent on Saturday

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