The refusal by the Dr Beyers Naude Local Municipality to supply water tankers to areas that are cut off from water due to today’s scheduled Eskom power outage is a violation of the basic human right to water.
On 26 August the municipality issued a notice advising the communities of Graaff-Reinet, Aberdeen, Nieu-Bethesda and Klipplaat of an Eskom outage scheduled from 06h00 to 18h30 on 10 September 2019.
On 4 September the Municipal Manager issued a second notice advising the communities affected that water supply to those areas would be affected by the interruption to the power supply and that some communities could be without water for up to 3 days.
A question to municipal officials today (10 September) from Cllr Ricardo Smith revealed that no arrangements have been made by the municipality to run water tankers to the affected communities.
Given the advance notice, many people would have made arrangements to store water for the day, but there are many residents who would not have seen the notice or who do not have the means to stockpile water.
With temperatures set to reach 34˚ today and no available water supply, our poorest people and especially children and babies, are at serious risk of dehydration. It is understandable that the municipality may battle to supply water when the water supply fails unexpectedly, but it should have made contingency arrangements having had advance notice of this event.
The right to access to water is enshrined in the South African Constitution and the Municipality is failing in its mandate to provide water. I have, therefore, today lodged a complaint against the Dr Beyers Naude Local Municipality with the South Africa Human Rights Council (SAHRC) following their refusal to supply water tankers.
It is clear that this ANC-run municipality has little regard for the well-being of its residents. It is becoming more and more evident that the people of Dr Beyers Naude Local Municipality need and deserve a DA government that cares about their needs.