Public consultation on water, sanitation services policy resumes next week

The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) will next week resume the national public consultations on the Draft Policy on Water and Sanitation Services provision on Privately Owned Land.

The purpose of the national consultations is to solicit input on the Draft Policy from various stakeholders and individuals who have interests in the provision of water and sanitation services to privately owned land across the country.

Privately owned land is a land that is not owned, controlled, or leased by the state. This may include commercial farms, mine owned land, churches owned land, trust properties, game parks, sectional or residential complexes among others.

The draft policy seeks to explore ways to redress the provision of water services to residents on privately owned land by ensuring that there is access to a safe and potable water supply and sanitation, supported by appropriate health and hygiene practices for the people living on those lands that are currently out of municipal distributing network, using water services intermediaries’ mechanisms as enshrined in the Water Services Act, 1997 (Act No. 108 of 1997).

“The draft framework is a culmination of a 2017 judgment on the case of Mshengu vs uMsunduzi, uMshwathi Local Municipalities, uMgungundlovu District Municipality and others, and the Department of Water and Sanitation as the sixth respondent.

“The court judgment stated that failure by the Water Services Authorities (WSA) to provide farm occupiers and labour tenants with access to basic sanitation, sufficient water, and collection of refuse was inconsistent with the Constitution. This necessitated the department to revive the draft policy to provide a framework on how to deal with the provision of water services to people living on privately owned land,” the department said.

As part of its national public consultations, the department will be engaging with stakeholders and affected parties in Mpumalanga from 23 January to 27 January 2023.

The department will be engaging stakeholders in Mbombela on 23 January, Ermelo on 25 January and Middelburg on 27 January to solicit input from interested parties.

“The public consultations which commenced in December last year will span for a period of 60 days, and interested parties are also welcome to submit written comments to or by 17 February 2023,” the department said.

Source: South African Government News Agency

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