Former water and sanitation minister Nomvula Mokonyane said there were 5125 registered dams. File picture: Phill Magakoe/ANA Pictures

Johannesburg - The ANC wants privately owned dams in the country to be controlled by the government, amid the push for expropriation of land without compensation.
This was revealed by the party’s MP Hlomane Chauke, who said on Thursday that a debate in the National Assembly on the takeover of dams as a national resource was on the cards.

Speaking during a debate on droughts, Chauke said one way of addressing the problem was for the government to take over the control of water. He said out of the about 4000 dams in the country, only 300 were owned by the government.

“Only 4% of African people control land, but not a single black person has a dam. Show me one in the country."

"All the remaining 3700 are under white control.”

Last month, former water and sanitation minister Nomvula Mokonyane said there were 5125 registered dams.

A total of 323 dams belong to the Water and Sanitation Department, 66 to other departments, 318 to municipalities, 4030 to the agricultural sector and 336 to the mining industry.

She said communities living near the privately owned dams did not have access to the water, despite their close proximity.

“We must move away from having dams that are meant for a purpose. It does not make sense, hence we need to revise the licence conditions of the dams,” Mokonyane said.

On Thursday, Chauke charged that the ANC had tried to avoid politics in the water space, but it was now the issue to be addressed in the wake of the motion approved last week to consider expropriation of land.

He said there was no way water could be separated from land.

“It is another struggle that we must fight and win,” he said.

Chauke said the ANC would propose that the mandate of the constitutional review tasked to consider the land expropriation committee be broadened to include the issue of water.

“When we come (back) from recess we must debate the issue of water rights,” he said.

Chauke said they would throw their support behind the Department of Water Affairs.

He said the governing party would mobilise the EFF to support their proposal on the need for the government to take control of all dams.

“We must enter into that struggle together. What we must not do is to disorganise our farmers that we love so much,” Chauke said.

The National Freedom Party’s Munzoor Emam-Shaik, who sponsored the topic for the parliamentary debate, said water was taken from the indigenous people in 1956 by passing a law “to divert water from poor to the rich and agricultural sector”.

“They did it in a devious manner, inhumane manner and in such a way that pregnant women carry buckets of water."

Emam-Shaik insisted that the water in the country belonged to the people.

“If that corrupt leader Helen Zille believes there is a spring on her property, it does not belong to her. Like the stolen land, they have stolen the water,” Emam-Shaik said.

The Star