By Libuseng Nyaka
QWAQWA – Thabo Mofutsanyana district municipality joined by provincial department of water held a two-day water summit in commemoration of Water Day where challenges and solutions were discussed.
Water Day is commemorated annually on March 22, a day after celebration of Human Rights Day.
During the opening on Wednesday, the Executive Mayor of Thabo Mofutsanayana District municipality, Malefu Vilakazi, used the platform to highlight the impact of shortage of water for the residents of the district and how best these problems can be addressed.
“We are gathered here to commemorate Water Day, a day after celebration of Human Rights Day. Access to water and sanitation are human rights that our community are entitled to. Our district municipality is the largest in the province, while it is mountainous but it is also an agricultural district by virtue of its rural nature.”
Vilakazi said agriculture, tourism and industrialisation have been identified as drivers of the district economy but regretted that inaccessibility to water remains a barrier for the latter to flourish.
“Many households still cannot access clean water within a reasonable distance, nor do they have access to acceptable levels of sanitation, where piped water is available. Quality, frequency and availability of fresh water is always a challenge.”
She conceded that the district still faces an uphill battle in terms of providing water to the citizens.
“Our district still uses Jojo tanks as well as water tankers to provide water while we still have large numbers of pit latrines and bucket toilets in the district.”
She however pins her hopes on the district model called “Khawaleza.” As the name indicates, the aim is to ensure that the speed of delivering service is imported at all times. This has resulted in the introduction of the district model.
“It is true that district municipality does not have physical area on which services can be rendered, but district municipality is empowered by law to be an active player in bulk regional service provision. Problems of water are never local as sometimes the source is from another area.”
She is, however, adamant that through correct implementation the district model will enable a coordinated sharing of resources.
“It will enable the pulling together of resources in order to address district challenges. As indicated the aim of this summit is to take stock of our current water sources, identify challenges and come with remedial actions that will augment the water resources within the district.”
Vilakazi said after the summit they would have ensured that they put mechanisms in place that will ensure communities have water of required quantities at all times.