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MORE FOCUS ON NATIONAL WATER CRISIS

Mafube Business Forum (MBF) was present on Monday 24 June at the National Water Summit in Centurion, which was organized by AfriForum. The summit was addressed by experts who consistently recognize the current crisis and offer solutions that must be addressed within a national strategy.


Mr. Fred van Zyl, former director general of the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS), outlined the background by referring to the introduction to the National Water Act 36 of 1998. The law recognizes that water is a scarce and unevenly distributed national resource , which although occurring in many different forms, are all part of a unity in the form of an interdependent cycle.

Dr. Sean Philips, the Director General of DWS, admitted during his speech that a crisis exists and went on to say that times of crisis create opportunities and that we must seize them - "Don't waste a good crisis!"


Dr. Philips is of the opinion that water authorities, such as municipalities, should "ring fence" income from water sales, so that those funds can only be used for water supply and the maintenance of water infrastructure. New legislation will provide for that. Dr. Philips says that in the future, stricter action will be taken against municipal managers and there will be no hesitation in bringing criminal charges against those who have not fulfilled their duties.


New water legislation will encourage the involvement of communities and participation of the private sector - an opportunity that MBF will seize for the benefit of the Mafube community.


Dr. Lloyd Fisher Jeffes from Cape Town is a civil engineer with an interest in the management of water resources. He explained how the city of Cape Town averted the "Day Zero" water crisis and believes that the lessons learned from it can also be applied elsewhere. It is clear that a national strategy must now be adopted to raise awareness nationwide, so that the per-capita consumption of water can be reduced by around 80 liters per person, per day. In South Africa it currently stands at 255 liters per person per day, however the recommended international consumption level is 175 liters per person per day. Mafube was in the spotlight at the summit, but unfortunately for the wrong reasons... More than one speaker referred to the local situation. The Mafube region is referred to nationwide as an example when talking about how things can go wrong if a municipality refuses to work with its local community. AfriForum launched a comprehensive information video at the summit - see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKKp3nHvBdE&t=166s

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