WATER AND ENVIRONMENT
Projects relating to the department of Water and Sanitation, as well as regional authorities that threaten South Africa’s water security and quality.
OUTA’s Water and Environment Portfolio was established to address the following core focus areas, whereby we believe our work will improve the performance of Government, its respective departments and its state owned entities in the delivery of services to society:
Core Focus Areas:
To expose and address maladministration and corruption in the Water Sector in South Africa.
To challenge water tariff pricing where this is deemed to be necessary and based on good research and facts.
To represent society / our supporters on Policy development (in Parliament & other functions) to ensure rationality and best outcomes to society.
Engage and provide input to Government / Parliament when requested to do so, within our mandate and capacity.
To further the aims and development of OUTA’s Water and Environment Portfolio through:
Media Statements in response to developments of projects, cases and reaction to matters pertinent to factors impacting on civil society in the energy sector.
Participate in national conferences (Private and Public Sector), where Civil Society input is required.
Position Papers and opinion pieces where necessary.
In this portfolio we have undertaken the following projects:
CAPE TOWN POLLUTION: CAMPS BAY MARINE PROTECTED AREA
OUTA is investigating whether the City complies with discharge standards to ensure that the MPA is not damaged. We believe that the City is currently, in terms of management of outfalls, contravening existing legislation. This failure to meet the standards creates a massive environmental concern for Cape Town residents.
HAMMANSKRAAL DRINKING WATER
OUTA uses regular water quality testing to help residents lobby the City of Tshwane for clean water. OUTA feels that this is a serious case as the City has failed in its duty to provide access to water, which is a basic human right.
LESOTHO HIGHLANDS WATER PROJECT
The Lesotho Highlands Water Project Phase II which started in 2004 and was scheduled for completion in 2019 has been delayed numerous times and extended to 2025. OUTA believes delivery may be even later. The project is aimed at long-term provision of water into the Vaal river system – Gauteng’s primary source of water. It was halted several times due to direct interference into the tender process by the former Water and Sanitation Minister, Nomvula Mokonyane. OUTA has learned that the project meant to cost SA tax payers R15.5 billion has ballooned to at least R26bn.
OUTA believes that the operating protocol leads to waste of water. The procedure is to run water continuously from Lesotho's Katse Dam through a hydropower station, then into the Vaal River system. This generates electricity for Lesotho but pours water into the Vaal Dam even when it is full.
HUMAN RIGHTS COMPLAINT
In 2017, OUTA formally complained to the South African Human Rights Commission about the Department of Water and Sanitation's failure to watch over South Africa's water. In 2018, OUTA made two submissions to the Commission's inquiry into the pollution of the Vaal River and Emfuleni. The Commission's report in 2021 reveals a total failure of governance.
INDEPENDENT WATER REGULATOR
Owing to failures in the regulatory function of the Department of Water and Sanitation, OUTA and WSSA are collaborating in advocating for regulator in the water sector that is independent from the Department.
JOINT COMMITTEE INQUIRY
In 2018, the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Water and Sanitation together with the Standing Committee on Public Accounts sought to undertake a Parliamentary inquiry into the challenges confronting the Department of Water and Sanitation.
BUCKET ERADICATION PROGRAMME
Access to adequate sanitation is a human right which can be inferred from the right to inherent dignity (section 10 of the Constitution), a healthy environment (section 24 of the Constitution) and access to adequate housing (section 26 of the Constitution).
SEDIBENG REGIONAL SANITATION SCHEME
The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) is undertaking an inquiry into whether or not the state of the Vaal River violates or threatens human rights including environmental rights in terms of section 24 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa.