Vandalising water resources and infrastructure that is meant for the basic needs of communities is a heinous act that tramples the human rights of others. It is particularly atrocious now during this difficult period when the world is faced with the novel and deadly coronavirus pandemic that has claimed almost the quarter of a million of lives across the globe. In South Africa alone, the number of infections continues to rise amid the government’s efforts to minimise a rapid increase in a number of infections.
South African Government has recently been commended by the World Health Organisation for its efforts and the measures that have been put in place to contain the spread of the virus.
The Department of Water and Sanitation has been rolling out water tanks and tankers throughout the country as part of the government’s intervention to ensure that rural areas and informal settlements, in particular, have access to reliable water supply during this period. This is to ensure that people employ hygienic practices including regular washing of hands with soap during critical times. Mainly in the areas that are water stricken and relying on temporal communal water supply and boreholes. through the washing of hands with running water and soap a recommendation made by the World Health Organisation (WHO) including social distancing.
The World Health Organisation has described washing of hands with soap as the most effective tool to curb the spread of the virus while there is still the battle of finding a vaccine to cure this deadly disease. Around the country, in the most informal and rural settlement the Ministry of Human Settlement Water and Sanitation led by Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, is mitigating the fight against COVID-19 spreading virus. This is done by refurbished boreholes and allocating water tanks with the assistance of water tankers delivering water to areas not accessing water via a normal piping system.
Act of vandalism on water resources is currently mushrooming at an alarming pace, whereby amongst other water tankers are vandalized by the same community. The resource meant to help the community to access water within a walking distance from their homes. In some areas, it has been noted with regrets that some entities in business circles are responsible for most damages and theft on the Departmental water tankers. Mainly for their own selfish desires at the expense of the community in dire need of water.
It is upon us as community members to report any act of vandalism on the existing water infrastructure and short term intervention mechanism made possible by the Department of Water and Sanitation. As we all know water is life, used for domestic and industrial lately a tool for bringing to a halt the spreading of coronavirus amongst one another simply by washing hands. Political parties in the country have come together as one in support of the call made by the President of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa. This was a call not to politicise Covid-19 as a political scoring opportunity.
The politicians are united under one common umbrella, which makes community members the primary recipients of water as a basic need not to unite against the vandalism of infrastructure meant to ease water challenge accessibility during this lock-down and beyond. Refuse to be an accessory to those who are vandalising water resources for selfish personal gain. Rather be an ambassador of water goodwill and be counted amongst Hero’s and Heroine saving little water available at our disposal. As we don’t know how long the Covid-19 virus is going to last with dam levels dwindling in some parts of the country approaching winter season which yields minimum rainfall.