The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) notes with concern the wanton and unwarranted incidents of burning of water tanks which took place yesterday, 09 June 2020, at Driziek 3 in Orange farm, South Johannesburg.
Throughout the country, the Department is rolling out water tankers and tanks in response to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s call to ensure that water-stressed communities have access to clean water supply to fight the spread of the killer Coronavirus.
Following the President’s call, the Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation, Ms Lindiwe Sisulu directed her Department to immediately act on the President’s call to ameliorate the plight of needy communities across the country.
DWS’s Gauteng Provincial Head, Mr Sibusiso Mthembu, expressed disappointment at the torching of water tanks, saying this was running counter to the objective to ensure that communities were not negatively impacted on by the spreading virus.
Mthembu said many people were desperate for the assistance the Department was providing in the form of water tanks and tankers, and that the actions of some community members were unjustified and utterly unacceptable.
He said: “The coronavirus is spreading at a rapid rate and communities need water to wash their hands. These acts of wanton destruction of property are infringing upon the rights of access to water of other members of the community. We condemn such acts as they demonstrate disregard for other people’s lives.”
To date, the Department has provided a total of 2 232 water tanks to the Cities of Joburg, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni as well as the Sedibeng District and West Rand District Municipalities.
Mthembu said communities that lacked access to water were particularly at risk during this time, adding that the intervention of the Department would go a long way to ensure that needy communities were able to practice proper hygiene by washing hands with water and soap to stay healthy.
He urged communities to look after water infrastructure, reiterating that its destruction only served to set back whatever strides the government was making to guarantee communities were safe from the coronavirus.