The SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) is on Monday, expected to release its report on the water situation in KwaZulu-Natal, following a myriad of complaints from residents who claimed to have little to no access to water.
“The Commission’s KwaZulu-Natal provincial office has, since 2020, received more than 600 complaints regarding access to water,” the Commission said.
“These complaints relate to wide-spread water shortages in communities; in some instances, no access to water for more than seven days; inconsistent water supply or water disconnection issues; lack of alternative measures such as provisioning of water tankers; poor water quality and polluted water in some instances. Complaints relating to disputes with billing have also been received.”
The SAHRC inquiry was held in Durban in August last year and spanned a week.
The Commission spoke to members from the private and public sector as well as community members.
The SAHRC said the inquiry was set up to determine if the province had contravened citizens rights.
“Consequently, noting the myriad complaints and recognising that the complaints potentially violate the basic human right to have access to sufficient clean water, the Commission convened an Inquiry,” it said.
“The investigative inquiry was convened with the aim to determine whether the water service authorities within the KwaZulu-Natal Province have violated residents’ rights to access clean drinking water as provided for in national legislation as well as in the Constitution, and if so, what interventions are being implemented by the state to resolve and prevent the recurrence of the violations.”
The KZN water inquiry report is expected to be released at 2pm on Monday.
Earlier this month, IOL reported that residents in Isipingo, south of Durban, went for 19 days without piped water.
The community had to collect water in buckets and bottles for more than two weeks despite living in one of the country’s largest metropolitan areas, eThekwini.
“It is heartbreaking to hear the cries of the people. Water is a basic human right and it is impossible to live like this. All we want is water back in our taps,” Annalize Pillai, an affected resident said at the time.
Durban Municipal spokesperson Gugu Siselane said the water cut was due to a recurring burst on the 300mm diameter pumping main to the reservoir.
The eThekwini Municipality announced on Sunday, that Durban will host a global conference on water challenges in 2025.
“In a momentous announcement, Durban has been selected as the host for the prestigious 19th World Water Conference taking place in 205,” the City said.
City Manager Musa Mbhele, who is currently in Beijing, China, received the symbolic baton from the President of the International Water Resources Association (IWRA), and the Minister of Water Resources in Beijing.— eThekwini Municipality (@eThekwiniM) September 17, 2023
This marked the official handover to Durban. pic.twitter.com/zPxaCtHcTE