It is as disappointing as it is unsurprising that the people of Giyani will have to wait another year, if not longer, to receive their basic human right to water after the Department of Water and Sanitation asks them to wait yet another year after 4 missed deadlines over 9 years.
ActionSA will therefore file an application in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) to obtain access to the progress reports the Department of Water and Sanitation appears to be relying on for these delays for almost a decade.
The documents obtained from this application in terms of PAIA will also assist ActionSA in the finalisation of possible legal steps to take to compel the Department to complete this project and provide the 55 villages in Giyani and its surrounds with the water they so desperately need.
This comes after the Deputy Director-General for the Department of Water and Sanitation, Rasimati Mathye, in an interview with Newzroom Afrika, told the nation that the people of Giyani will have to wait another year until their hopes of receiving water from their homes will be realised.
ActionSA’s lawyers are in the process of meeting with water experts whose testimony will be used as the foundation for legal papers to sue the municipality, the Lepelle Northern Water Board and the Minister of Water and Sanitation, to ensure that they finally do their jobs and stop lying to the people of Giyani.
Between 2014 and 2022, costs of the Project skyrocketed from R502 million to R4.5 billion. Despite this absurd and exorbitant expenditure, the taps continue to run dry, violating the dignity and fundamental human rights of residents in the area.
Last year, the Minister of Water and Sanitation, Senzo Mnchunu, told the public that the Project would be completed in August 2022, then September 2022. In December, to save face, President Ramaphosa addressed a meeting in Giyani and promised the people that in March 2023 water would be available to communities failing which he would fire his Water and Sanitation Minister Mnchunu.
March has come and gone, and the people of Giyani are now asked to wait another year and Mnchunu still has his job.
If Minister Mchunu is incapable of taking his job seriously, we will create a situation where he is compelled to deliver water to the people of Giyani.