Iqhumrhu Lokulwela Ingcinezelo Yamanzi are calling on the government to answer on the issue of the water crisis, as we have seen the deteriorating condition of our water and the dozens of sample tests that have failed. Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB) currently faces an unprecedented crisis in the delivery of basic water supply to its residents. Reports indicate the municipality’s consumption will likely deplete its local sources from the Kouga Dam by the end of May, which will consequently leave taps dry across Nelson Mandela Bay’s western areas. We have reached Day Zero.

Climate scientists told us this day would come, although they did not expect it would be so soon, and it is not necessarily their fault for this miscalculation. The municipality’s poor management, failing infrastructure, and increasing demand for consumption are the key factors for the rapid disintegration of our water system. In essence, we gave control of perhaps our most valuable resource for survival, our water, to a gang of inept criminals known as the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality. Now we, as residents of Nelson Mandela Bay, must face this acute situation in our water supply without a concrete understanding of how to resolve it, and we may either choose to put in the serious effort as ourselves, with assemblies like the Water Crisis Committee, or we can leave it up to the usual suspects, the municipality. 

The Constitution endows South African Citizens with an inalienable right to access clean and sufficient water. This right to water is fundamentally intertwined with environmental rights also outlined in the Constitution and is furthermore an enabling right for the enjoyment of rights to a just and decent life through health and education. Residents in Uitenhage are calling for a report on the water situation in NMB to the Human Rights Commission. There is a clear mandate within the Constitution for the provision of these basic rights. This is why we are calling the government to answer on this issue in front of the chapter 9 institutions through a water Imbizo.

Protesters demanding water (Jenni Evans)

There should be no excuse for the present condition facing everyday people in South Africa, particularly, Sunday’s River Municipality and Nelson Mandela Bay in these areas:

  • People get diarrhoea and attain sicknesses from the tap water, especially people from the informal settlements. And this sickness for some would last for weeks.
  • Boiling water is not an option as this also impacts on people’s electricity, and people get sick even after boiling water. Water Tankers that do receive water tankers also complain that the water that comes from these water tankers is also dirty, this is most predominant in Uitenhage.
  • In Uitenhage, they have gone for 12 days without water. And these 12 days without even water tankers being sent.
  • People’s gardens suffer from this water, as plants die. Not to mention the sicknesses people’s livestock get from this particular water.
  • Regardless of how contaminated the water is, people are still receiving huge water bills.

These are extreme conditions that exist in areas of the Sundays River Valley and Nelson Mandela Bay. This is why the water crisis committee has called a Water Imbizo on 13 May 2021 in Gqebera, Missionvale Campus, with the government and chapter 9 institutions to demand accountability on this issue. We are also taking to this Imbizo our demands that are as follows:

  • Installation of Water Pipes
  • Cut Municipal Bills on Water to Residents until this issue has been sorted out.
  • Indigent Policy must be enforced
  • Fix Ailing Infrastructure to allow pumping of clean water
  • Compensate the people who have suffered from illnesses from the contaminated water
  • Communicate in advance that Water will be cut
  • Construct the Dam in Bersheba so that the people of Bersheba and Enon can receive their own water.
  • Close all water leaks and respond to them on time 
  • Bring proof that Water is now safe to drink
  • We demand One House One Jojo Tank
  • The truck must supply water every day
  • Create separate spaces where animals consume different water from that of human beings
  • Stop the estimation of water billings, read straight from what is in the meter.
  • Finish the Water Tank installation project in Uitenhage.
  • There should be Water Tanks in all schools.

We demand an immediate implementation of the aforementioned demands and the Human Rights Commission to take serious action around government failure on the water crisis.

For Enquiries:

Victoria Siwundla: 066 1718 022

Thozama Gxoyiya: 078 489 6555

Ncebakazi Tuku: 078 516 8013

Melikhaya Blani: 074 920 4076

Siyabulela Mama: 065 970 7079