Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Minister, Lindiwe Sisulu, says all chairpersons of water boards across the country must commit to clean governance, free of any corrupt activity.
The Minister over the weekend addressed chairpersons of water boards at a meeting she convened to convey some of her priorities for the next few months.
“We need to lead in ensuring that ours is a clean environment. We will not tolerate any corrupt activity during our time. It is the only right thing to do,” Sisulu said.
Sisulu said the department will sign a declaration with the chairpersons that binds and commits them to ensuring that there corruption does not happen under their watch.
“You represent me on your various boards and while you are chairpersons of these boards, this environment will be cleaned up and be free of corruption,” Sisulu said.
She implored the boards to use every cent they have to ensure that local government, including Water Service Authorities, is provided with the bulk water necessary for them to distribute to the people of South Africa.
The chairpersons unanimously supported the Minister’s call for clean governance and highlighted some of the challenges they are experiencing at their respective water boards.
The chairpersons also appealed for the Minister’s intervention to get municipalities to pay for services.
It was reported that some municipalities are deliberately not paying for services, and this in turn threatens the operational viability of the boards.
Municipalities currently owe water boards over R10 billion.
Temporary residential units under investigation
Meanwhile, Sisulu has instructed the Human Settlements Director-General to commission an investigation of all the recent projects relating to temporary residential units (TRUs), including the construction of temporary shelters for Silahliwe and Linda Mkhondo in Harrismith in the Free State province.
This follows concerns raised from various platforms, alleging that the structures are poorly constructed and have cost a lot of money to build.
“We have a responsibility to spend our limited resources wisely. There must be value for each and every cent we spend. Therefore, shoddy workmanship will never be tolerated,” Sisulu said.
If it is found that the department’s norms and standards have been flouted, the Minister said action will be taken to correct the situation, and “sanctions will be levelled against institutions which have not adhered to the Housing Code”.
The National Housing Code, 2009, sets the underlying policy principles, guidelines and norms and standards, which apply to the government’s various housing assistance programmes.