The recent Blue Drop water quality report indicates that water in South Africa can be of world quality. In several municipalities the water has a purification level that is to be envied, and it is reported that water in these areas is a pleasure to drink.
"What is missing from the report is a show of gratitude to those workers who collect, store, purify and deliver our water supply", says the South African Municipal Workers' Union, SAMWU in a press release.
Three municipalities are specially noted for their water quality: Ekurelheni, Joburg and Mogale. SAMWU underlines that in these municipalities there has been a significant input made in both human and material resources. Water workers have had the materials and equipment to be able to do their jobs as they wish to.
There is still room for vast improvement though, says SAMWU: "In almost all municipalities, the dominant trend has been away from a service delivery model that puts people’s needs at the centre, towards a ‘user must pay’ approach which in practical terms deprives the poor amongst us from the basic necessities of life, including water and light."
SAMWU and its Community Allies have long argued that ensuring that municipal services are properly funded, properly managed and properly monitored under public control is the very best guarantee to ensure that all citizens get the services they need:
''Where outsourcing, privatisation and all the other variants of a profit driven system have been used to deliver services by municipalities, the poor lose out, workers are left exploited and vulnerable, and equally important, our people as a whole do not get the quality services they have been promised and deserve.
Worse still, privatisation has perilously polluted our political institutions by providing opportunities for corruption and openings for anti-social tenderpreneurs. All the more reason to escalate public works further and to aim to provide every household in this land with water and sanitation services that will guarantee their good health, create employment, and make sure that we have an infrastructure that serves our people not profiteers.
While the rest of the world clogs up our eco-system with plastic bottles that make huge profits for the already wealthy, we must decisively aim to supply clean water and sanitation for all of our people, wherever they live, and whatever their circumstances, so that they too can turn on a tap and drink some of the finest water in the world!"