Johannesburg – The Deputy Minister of Water and Sanitation, David Mahlobo has called for enhanced collaborative efforts towards water sustainability across the globe.
Mahlobo attended maiden Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (BRICS) Water Minister’s meeting on behalf of Minister Senzo Mchunu on Thursday, 18 November 2021.
The BRICS Water Minister’s Meeting was motivated that sustainable water management and sanitation are major challenges that required urgent attention.
He said the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed inequality which still exists in many parts of the world and implored BRICS member states that more work still has to be done to ensure equity in societies.
“Inequality has shown its ugly head and it is women and children who continue to bear the brunt of this. Now, more than ever before, we need to work together so that our citizens do not continue to live in hardships,” Mahlobo added.
He further stated that the effects of Climate Change have had a devastating impact on water security in South Africa and commended the strong relations the country has with its neighbouring countries.
“South Africa is one of the water-scarce countries in the world and this is exacerbated by drought as a result of climate change. But as a region, we have one of the best examples where we share watercourses instead of rivers being used as a source of conflict. We work in peace unlike in some parts of the world. In Southern Africa, water is used to promote peace and development whereas elsewhere, water has been used as a source of conflict and sometimes as a source of war,” he explained.
In addition, he reiterated the government’s commitment to uphold its constitutional mandate; to provide clean water for all and dignified sanitation facilities.
“Our constitution is very clear that water is regarded as a human right and this is why in our own motto here in South Africa, we say water is life and sanitation is dignity. We continue to work tirelessly so that citizens of our country have dignified lives,” he added.
Mahlobo also emphasised that the current dispensation has come a long way since 1994. In terms of the provision of water services, for example, South Africa has increased delivery from 64% in 1994 to 94% in 2021, while also admitting that much still has to be done.