‘I am very angry with the issue of water problems, national government and Rand Water did not brief me,’ Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi

Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi.Picture: Timothy Bernard / African News Agency (ANA)

Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi.Picture: Timothy Bernard / African News Agency (ANA)

Published Oct 4, 2023


ActionSA in Gauteng said “water shifting” is not a solution for the water crisis currently taking place in the province.

Parts of Gauteng had no water for more than half a day yesterday due to Johannesburg Water carrying out maintenance work to repair leaking valves.

Johannesburg Water said some systems are experiencing critically low water levels.

Affected areas included Alexandra, Wynberg, Craighall, Parkhurst and Hyde Park.

In a statement released on Monday, the entity said it is experiencing water supply challenges due to supply constraints.

In Ekurhuleni, areas such as Tsakane, KwaThema, Duduza and more have been without water for two months.

The Ekurhuleni Metro blamed Rand Water for supplying them with insufficient water.

Parts of Pretoria such as Soshanguve have been experiencing water cuts for almost half the year.

Tshwane Metro also blamed Rand Water for this problem.

Earlier this year, Rand Water cut water supply in most parts of Gauteng for about 20 hours to maintain its infrastructure to curb water cuts. Few months down the line, residents are with little or no water supply.

Rand Water this week implemented water shifting in a bid to ensure equitable and balanced supply of water to Gauteng residents, this follows a directive from Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu.

Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi speaking in an interview with one of the broadcasters called out Rand Water and the national government for what he called lack of communication and consultation for ongoing water problems in the province.

He said this lack of communication had led to his office bring blamed for incompetence of other agencies.

“I am very angry, I am very angry. I’ve convened an urgency provincial committee of the ANC. I think we are treated badly by national government and other institutions. I don't mind if Rand Water has challenges… but consult and brief us. At the beginning of this year we were told that they were improving their infrastructure to avoid this kind of situation. When they are faced with problems, do they brief us? We are treated like any other commoner in our province,” said Lesufi.

ActionSA Gauteng Provincial Chairperson Funzi Ngobeni said the party has written to Rand Water and Mchunu following his directive for the utility to conduct water shedding, better known as power cuts, across Gauteng.

“We have asked for information about the duration of this water shift, an estimate of when water systems will be balanced, and which communities will be affected by it,” said Ngobeni.

Further, Ngobeni said: “We seek a schedule, including an outline of the factors that have led to the water crisis and a long-term plan to address the shortage.”

Ngobeni said the ruling government’s failure to prioritise the maintenance of infrastructure throughout the province has subjected residents to dire conditions as they go about their daily lives without running water and electricity.

“This is intolerable and must be put to an end. South Africans have been forced to accept inadequate administration and a lack of service provision, which violates millions of people’s rights and reduces their quality of life,” Ngobeni said.

Research specialist in water resource management at Unisa, Professor Anja du Plessis, said the country is sitting with systemic chaos all over the place.

“Water shifting is possible, but there are constraints and there are implementation issues and it should not become the norm. So, we have, therefore, need as a community to stand together and ask for transparency, especially in terms of how long will this be implemented and what is in the meantime, being done to resolve the issue,” said Du Plessis.