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Budget Vote Speech by Hon Lulu Johnson - Committee Chair on Water and Sanitation

11 May 2016

Chairperson
Comrades
Colleagues
Fellow South Africans

Today, marks yet another milestone in the history of our democracy through this budget, whose sole aim is that of taking our country forward.

We gather to re-commit ourselves to yet another step in the direction of improving the lives of our People for the better.

As the ANC, we stand ready to put the interests of our People at the centre of our programs as demanded by our historical mission of serving our People.

For these reasons above, as the ANC we endorse the R15, 2 Billion budget for 2016/7.

Fellow South Africans

Water remains basic Human right as it is enshrined in our Constitution.

Fellow South Africans

The journey towards the provision of safe drinking water and dignified sanitation became one of the priorities of the new ANC led Government in 1994.

I must say that this journey was a painful one as some died, whilst others were forcefully exiled and jailed. Lest we forget!

It is the same journey that continuously prioritises the vulnerable human groups: the aged, women, children and disabled.

Colleagues

This august House must be on a constant reminder that the water provision before 1994 stood at 60 odd%, and we can today pride ourselves that this figure has since been reduced tremendously, through the strides of the ANC interventions, which today stands at around 10%.

Bantu base Njerere (Limpopo), Lamontville (eThekwini), Vergenoeg (Cradock)

President Nelson Mandela once said "let there be work, bread, water and salt for all".

It seems as if Madiba knew that one day some amongst us would go against the wishes of the masses. This begs the question to those who are against this budget vote, who do they really represent?

Fellow South Africans, be warned about who do you support with your X, as some in this House are openly saying `no to this budget`, a budget whose intention is to improve the lives of ordinary people, `Coloured`, Indians, Africans, poor White compatriots, the disabled, the Youth and the Women.

This budget equally seeks to provide opportunities for Black Industrialists to thrive, yet some of us in this very House of Parliament are saying a BIG NO to this progressive budget.

Chairperson

The purpose of Budget Vote 36 is to ensure the availability of water resources, facilitate equitable and sustainable socio-economic development, and to ensure that the challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality are addressed through water and sanitation services.

Mense van Mitchells Plein, Galeshiwe, People of Wentworth, Bantu base Zwide

These services must be positioned to be at the centre of social and economic activities of our people.

The recently launched War on Leaks campaign has started yielding some results through raising of awareness among our communities about the need of saving water and protection of our infrastructure.

This campaign has started contributing immensely in changing the livelihoods of young People in our Country. This bears testimony that the ANC led government cares.

As this Campaign garners shape, embedded in it must be an earnest programme of maintenance and protection of our infrastructure, aged or otherwise.

Comrade Minister

There is a general consensus across the political landscape that this is a balanced budget fit for its occasion.

This budget is 3.2% less than the 2015/16 appropriation (R15.7 billion). However, more can be still be done with less, and this is evident in the way in which this Vote sets out to address current South African water and sanitation
needs. The current needs range from access to water and sanitation services; Protection of water resources from pollution and over-exploitation; Water demand management; Drought relief; and Infrastructure Development and Management.

Bantu base Khayelitsha, O R Tambo, Madibeng and Botshabelo

StatsSA General Household Survey of 2014 and Institute of Race Relations (2016) South African Survey tell us that 90% of households now have access to piped water in 2014 which is an improvement from 79.9 per cent in 1996.
Indeed, South Africa drinks from the tap.

On the other hand, access to RDP standard sanitation stood at 79.5% in 2014 which is an improvement from 16.5% in 1996. This means that only 10 per cent of the households lack access to piped water and 20% of households lack access to RDP standard sanitation.

In order to improve household access to water and sanitation services - we look forward to ending of bucket toilets, replaced with dignified sanitation services in the formal areas during this financial year.

In addition, 1552 rainwater harvesting tanks will be provided to various households while interim basic water supply will be provided to 90 000 households across the country.

Again, who in His/Her right mind would vote against such a revolutionary Vote? That person or Party does not care about you, the communities and households of Tshwane, Majakaneng, Mannenburg, Vembe, Pongolo from benefitting from these programmes towards changing your lives for the better.

DA members here and out there

This Budget Vote seeks to redress the injustice of the past in the area of access to water and sanitation services.

Batho bako North West, bako Free State, KZN, Mpumalanga le Limpopo

South Africa is in the midst of its worst drought in at least two decades, threatening agricultural output, pushing up food prices and causing water supply shortages.

With an additional R500 Million to be administered by DAFF and RDLF is another confirmation that this Vote seeks nothing else but ensuring the availability of water resources, universal access to water and sanitation services as well as facilitating the equitable and sustainable socio-economic development.

Members and supporters of eff and DA

Did you give your leaders a mandate to object to this budget, a budget that seeks to improve your lives for the better?

Director General

In terms of Infrastructure Development and Management, it is worth noting that 78% of the total budget of this Vote will be spent on infrastructure development. This infrastructure would ensure access to reliable, sustainable and quality water to 192 000 households and 26 865 rural households would also access to sanitation. This infrastructure development would mainly be funded through Regional Bulk Infrastructure Grant (RBIG), the Accelerated Community

Infrastructure Programme (ACIP), and the Water Services Infrastructure Grant (WSIG). Some of the projects that are worth mentioning are the completion of the Xonxa Dam water supply to Lukhanji municipality in Eastern Cape; raising the Clanwilliam Dam wall in the Western Cape; construction of pipelines for the Olifants River water development project in Limpopo, among others

Young People and Business Men and Women of our Country

In addition to provision of water and sanitation services the infrastructure development programmes will also create thousands of temporary and permanent job opportunities across the country. These programmes would also impart various skills to the local communities wherein these projects are implemented.

These skills would enable these communities to join the mainline job market and some even become independent contractors for their local municipalities and communities. These are some of the benefits that would accrue to you Young People and Business Persons of our beautiful South Africans through the adoption of this budget Vote.

Minister and DG

In so doing, you shall have done a great deal in helping these Black Businesses thrive.

But, when you do such and NOT pay them in time, you are killing them, thereby reversing the gains we are making in promoting such Black Businesses.

The focus of this Vote over the medium term will be on massive policy reviews in order to align water policies with the National Development Plan (NDP) and the Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) 2014 -2019 priorities, amongst others. For example the NDP calls for the removal of all legislative impediments to development such as water use license time frames or turnaround time. In response to this, 80 per cent of water use authorisation applications will be processed within 300 working days from the date of receipt. This would ensure equitable allocation of water resources for social and economic development.

Minister and Deputy Minister

As the Committee whose task is to oversee your work, we shall indeed play our role more robustly this time around.

The review of legislation would also ensure the establishment of the remaining seven catchment management agencies (CMA) and nine regional water utilities. This would in turn improve efficiency and effectiveness in the delivery of water and sanitation services. The strengthened legislation would provide for monitoring programmes for drinking water quality, wastewater quality and mini water quality. The monitoring would also assist with compliance and enforcement of water and wastewater quality standards which would in turn improve the protection of water resources from pollution from mine water and partially treated wastewater. For example the green drop and blue drop programmes are some of the regulation based programmes.

In conclusion, as the ANC, we look forward to the implementation of your APP and Strategic Plan despite the reduction in budget.

All the programmes that make up this Vote are geared towards ensuring the availability of water resources, facilitate equitable and sustainable socio-economic development, and ensuring universal access to water and sanitation services. For example the international agreements that are supported through various commissions such as Lesotho Highland Water Project.

It is also suffice to quote the French proverb that says Rome was not built in one day - this proverb sums it well that with time all shall be served with enough good quality water and dignified sanitation services.

However it will not happen overnight, that`s why in 1996 few households had access to piped water but today 90 per cent of the total households in South Africa have access to piped water.

It is the 10 per cent that this Vote seeks to satisfy while maintaining the access of the 90 per cent households.

President Madiba taught us well that, what counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.

Lulu Johnson

     
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