When the people call, when they need action, when they need someone to listen to them, the responsibility of those of us who have chosen a life of service is to listen and to act.
It is our duty to move swiftly and effectively to ensure they can live with dignity, health and prosperity. It is not an easy task. This beautiful country of ours is a vast land.
Our people are spread across it from Musina to Mossel Bay, from eThekwini to Springbok. We live in the cities, the heartbeat of the country’s economy. We live in the villages, the soul of our nation. No matter where we live, we, the ANC, must dedicate every day to providing the services that will allow our people the basics of life, and the most basic of all of those is water.
Water is a precious resource in South Africa, a land where droughts are always a worry. They affect farms, villages and cities. They affect every aspect of our lives.
As a people we need to be more water aware. As a party and a government we need to be able to plan and provide for those for whom access to water is not taken for granted. We, as the ANC and the government, are fully aware of our responsibility to plan for the present and the future.
And it is only through being the party of the people that we can reach out across this vast country to ensure that all have access to water.
Recently, President Cyril Ramaphosa visited the Naledi Local Municipality in the North. The community has had problems with water supply.
The president was there on behalf of the party to listen to the people. They told him the water supply had been intermittent since December. Sometimes they went without. They relied on tankers.
The president immediately got to work. We are a grass-roots party.
He set in motion a process to ensure the supply of water to the people of the Naledi Local Municipality was made constant.
Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Dr Zweli Mkhize and Minister of Water and Sanitation Gugile Nkwinti met local mayors, municipal managers and other officials last month to discuss a strategy. The ministers were told that 50000 people were affected by water issues. They agreed on some urgent steps to solve the short-term problem, and on long-term solutions to ensure the supply of water to the region would be constant in future.
The schedule of tankers bringing water to the communities was looked at and improved, after complaints that they were inconsistent.
Four boreholes were drilled and pump stations upgraded to provide 1.6 megalitres of water to the community, at a cost of R3.2million. This took three weeks to complete.
A blocked pipe is being attended to. The issues with traditional authorities and conflicts in the community over an impasse that has interrupted the bulk water supply project are being urgently addressed.
Security has been put in place to help the SAPS guard the Mogopela pipelines from vandalism.
Geohydrological studies have been commissioned to find additional boreholes at a cost of R15m. They will report back in six to nine months.
Over R10m will be spent to connect the Dry Harts Reservoir to the new RBIG Supply System, which will see a 9.23km link installed that will improve supply exponentially.
Premier Job Mokgoro went on an inspection tour at the beginning of April to further assess the situation.
He has committed to ensure the issues raised by the Batlhaping Ba-Ga Phuduhucwane traditional council over the implementation of the Taung Dam maintenance project were addressed. The maintenance of the dam will supply water to 126 villages as well as the Naledi Local Municipality in Vryburg.
The ANC government is hard at work to resolve similar issues in Limpopo, the Eastern Cape, Free State and Gauteng.
There is more we can and will do. As a party we have the reach and capacity to affect and improve the lives of our people in real ways.
We are on the ground, at grass roots, across the nation, in every corner of our land, in villages and cities. President Ramaphosa has been travelling, listening, learning and acting.
The ANC is listening and acting, standing beside our people across the land.
* Duarte is ANC deputy secretary-general
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.