Makhosi Khoza

Makhosi Khoza at Zondo’s commission of inquiry into state capture on November 12, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Gallo Images / Netwerk24 / Felix Dlangamandla)

Shock and horror over quality of Johannesburg and Pretoria drinking water

Outa has expressed concern over the state of drinking water in several parts of Gauteng following a survey.

Makhosi Khoza

Makhosi Khoza at Zondo’s commission of inquiry into state capture on November 12, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Gallo Images / Netwerk24 / Felix Dlangamandla)

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) has expressed concern over the quality of the drinking water in a number of Gauteng municipalities. 

Outa said in a statement on Thursday that it has undertaken to test the water quality in the 31 drinking water supply systems in Gauteng which affects the Province’s estimated 14.7 million residents and businesses.

It said it will be sharing the results and feedback with the public “over the coming months”.

Outa said:

In the past, Municipalities would boast about supplying their communities with “BLUE DROP STATUS” water, their silence now is deafening! The effects of waterborne diseases could have a crippling effect on, not only the health of communities, but also the economy of a region as a whole. 

 Makhosi Khoza, Executive Director for the OUTA Local Government division, said:

“OUTA is leaving nothing to chance and giving control back to the people by monitoring the drinking water independently. By enlisting water experts, OUTA will not only test the water quality but will have a strong enough legal case to take on any local municipality or water services provider who supplies unhealthy water to its residents to ensure healthy water to the people.”

Outa has already conducted a social media survey, asking people in Gauteng whether they believed their drinking water is of good quality.

“Out of the 3000 votes we received within 24 hours, an alarming 83% of people said “NO”, indicating concerns on the quality of their drinking water,” said Yamkela Ntola, Outa’s Portfolio Manager for Water and Environment. 

The National Water Act (36 of 1998), read together with the Water Services Act (108 of 1997) provides that, among other things, the Minister has to monitor and ensure compliance with all applicable national standards pertaining to water quality.  

The Blue and Green Drop Reports which reflect the quality of drinking and wastewater respectively have not been published since 2014. The Reports serve as evidence that the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) has complied with its duty to monitor.  

As recent as 24 October 2018, the DWS informed the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Water and Sanitation of the status of the assessment reports from 2014 onwards.  

According to the Department, the 2015 reports have been submitted for approval, with the remaining reports for subsequent years still in progress.

“This is simply not good enough, and contributes towards the low confidence South Africans have towards the Department. OUTA urges the Department to make public the reports on the quality of water”, said Ntola.

Outa obtained its first batch of independently sampled and tested results which indicated that the drinking water in the following areas was clean and met the SANS 241: 2015 potable water quality criteria on the day the sample was taken:

  1. Emfuleni (Vanderbijl and Vereeniging);
  2. Johannesburg Metro (Soweto, Randburg);
  3. Mogale City;
  4. Tshwane Metro (Pretoria CBD);
  5. Ekurhuleni Metro; and
  6. Hammanskraal.

Outa said it wants citizens to support their local Outa branches which will be established in Ekurhuleni, Johannesburg, Tshwane, Emfuleni and Mogale City over the next three months.

“These local branches will empower residents to fight maladministration and corruption in these Municipalities and will embark on various projects, like this water quality report from our experts, to give Gauteng residence peace of mind and to make their rates and taxes work for them whilst holding officials to account,” said Khoza.