World Summit on Sustainable Development on Water & Sanitation Report; Mpumalanga Province Report; Limpopo Province Visit Report

Water and Sanitation

29 October 2002
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Meeting report

Water Affairs & Foresty

WATER AFFAIRS AND FORESTRY PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
30 October 2002
WORLD SUMMIT ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT ON WATER AND SANITATION REPORT; MPUMALANGA PROVINCE REPORT; LIMPOPO PROVINCE VISIT REPORT


Chairperson: Ms B.P. Sonjica (ANC)

Documents handed out:
WSSD Report on Water and Sanitation August 26 to August 31 2002
Report on a Study Tour to Mpumalanga Province on 8 to 9April 2002
Report on a Visit to Limpopo Province from 14 to 17 April 2002


SUMMARY
The Committee discussed the World Summit on Sustainable Development Report on Water and Sanitation; the Report of the Limpopo visit and the Report on the Study Tour to Mpumalanga Province. The Report on the Study Tour to Mpumalanga was unanimously adopted. Amendments were made to the WSSD Report. Technical Amendments were proposed on the Limpopo Province Visit but not yet adopted.

MINUTES
WSSD Report on Water and Sanitation
The Committee read through the report, and proposed various technical amendments.

Mr G. McIntosh (DA) stated that as a South African citizen, he was proud of the fact that the Summit was held in South Africa, adding that it had been well-organised and well-run. He said it was a major achievement of the Summit that the water agenda was now included in the World Bank Millenium Agenda Programme. The attendance of the developed countries at the Summit, and their commitment towards it, indicated their commitment towards the achievement of sustainable development. It was also good to have so many NGO's at the Summit, who were giving voice to their frustrations.

Mr van Wyk (ANC) agreed that the NGO's were very vocal, but added that those who stood out, were NGO's with better capacity, mostly from the north, with regard to land negotiations. The WSSD stressed the important role that NGO's should play in sustainable development, especially in water and sanitation. Governments should also contribute to strengthening the NGO Sector, by giving them greater capacitation, and by growing the relationship with Civil Society.

Addressing the policy changes would would advance implementation of the WSSD programme the Committee felt this should be entitled. 'The Way Forward". Many expressed concerns with Private Sector participation in the delivery of water services as a challenge to consider. The Chairperson said that many African countries were still concerned about the Private Sector. If the Private Sector was to be allowed to participate in providing basic services, the poor would be further impoverished by having to pay for these services. She stated that there was a slight difference in our South African situation, where such participation is regulated. However, the Unions were not yet convinced that the situation is being handled as well as it should be, in spite of the regulations.

Mr D. Maimane (ANC), felt that Private Sector participation in providing of water services was required, in order to fast-track the sentiments of the WSSD Declaration.

An ANC member felt commented on the section discussing commitment of the South African Government to provision of water services for all South Africans. He stated that the following should be added "We believe an even stronger commitment reflected in the allocation of targeted funds for water and sanitation through all spheres of government is necessary. South Africa is a leader, internationally, in providing water and sanitation to all its people as a basis for sustainable development".

Report on a Study Tour to Mpumalanga Province on 8 and 9 April 2002
Chairperson: Acting Chairperson: Mr D. Maimane (ANC) (The Chairperson was not well.)

Mr P. Mathebe (ANC) requested clarity on the last sentence on page 6. The Chairperson explained that cooperation between the national and provincial governments was not proceeding up to standard.

Mr Mathebe queried the section on 'Nkangala District Municipality - Challenges'. He said this statement was not a true reflection of the situation. Rather than the reported two or three weeks, in his own experience, Mr Mathebe said that the villages would go without water for three or four months. However, Mr van Wyk (ANC) said that the statement had been received in a briefing from the Municipality, and they could only report on what was given to them.

Ms B. Sonjica (ANC) expressed shock at the extreme water shortages, saying that the Portfolio Committee would have to get DWAF to attend to the problem as a matter of urgency. She added that it was a matter of almost crisis proportions, urging those Committee members who experienced a similar problem in their constituency, to bring it to the Committee's attention.

The Committee found with addressing the challenge of the service authority there was apparent confusion over the functions of the local Municipality and the local Council. The absence of a properly-constituted water service authority led to the neglect of certain basic services such as the provision of water and sanitation, especially in rural areas.

Much debate ensued around the problem of vandalism of meters and other facilities. A member (ANC) felt it was the prerogative of the community itself to oppose vandalism. Mr S. Phohlela (ANC) agreed with the recommendation that bylaws be introduced which would penalise vandalisers.

Mr van Wyk felt the community should take co-ownership of the responsibility to combat vandalism, while Mr Maimane felt that DWAF should conduct awareness programmes, to enlighten the community on their rights with regard to the bylaws.

The Chairperson proposed the adoption of the report. All were in agreement.

In closing, the Chairperson reiterated two major concerns emanating from the document that required immediate action:
-the introduction of bylaws to combat vandalism and illegal connections
-the problem of villages going without water for long periods of time

3. Report on a Visit to Limpopo Province from 14 to 17 April 2002
The Committee read through the report, and proposed various technical amendments. It was proposed that the report would be adopted in the week of the 11 November 2002.

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