DA urges residents to register to vote and change future of Jhb metro

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The Democratic Alliance (DA) has urged residents of Johannesburg to register to vote this weekend in order to change the future of the metro.

Party leader John Steenhuisen addressed scores of members outside the Human Rights Commission in Johannesburg on Friday, where he, together with DA Gauteng Chairperson Solly Msimanga, laid a complaint against Rand Water.

The party says the water authority is robbing residents of their constitutional right to a basic human right with the escalating “water shedding” it is implementing in the metro.

Steenhuisen says this negatively affects the economy as well as critical services such as health provision.

This weekend will see over 23 000 voter registration stations opened across the country to give eligible voters an opportunity to register to vote for the 2023 national and provincial elections.

“If you are sitting at home and saying, ‘I’m not interested in politics, I’m not interested. It doesn’t matter in my life.’ I have a very important message for you. You may not be interested in politics, but what has happened in Johannesburg shows that politics is very interested in you. Because it is politics that has switched off your water, it is politics that has switched off your electricity, it is politics that has switched off the factories and jobs in the province, it is politics that has robbed you of your future and your opportunity,” says Steenhuisen.

The DA has described the Water Affairs Minister, Senzo Mchunu as ignorant and arrogant.

The party says that citizen’s basic right to water has been violated by the water authority in concert with the Gauteng province and national government. The Johannesburg area has seen some areas go without water for protracted periods of time with water-shifting being implemented.

Steenhuisen says if the complaint to the Chapter 9 institution is not taken seriously, it will resort to the courts.

“It will be against the provincial government and Rand Water as well as the national department of water and sanitation. There is a constitutional obligation on government departments to meet the bill of rights, constitutional requirements. That is why the basic rights are entrenched in the constitution because they are regarded as sacrosanct and should not be violated or amended. And that is why we would bring litigation against those people, particularly and in the case of Rand Water and the MEC and premier potentially, we would bring personal cost orders against them because they have been warned for many years that there is a crisis coming,” Steenhuisen adds.

Video: Water Supply Challenges in Gauteng: Mike Muller weighs in

Rand Water has slammed allegations that it is experiencing water supply challenges due to old infrastructure. It has also dismissed claims that it is not in a position to supply enough water to customers.

The DA in Gauteng has called on Rand Water CEO Sipho Mosai to resign citing water supply challenges. However, Mosai says Rand Water spent millions of rand on infrastructure upgrades and that the utility is supplying more water than is required.

“There are challenges, but those challenges are as a result of planned maintenance which is welcome. And we are happy that there is maintenance happening in that part. So, if anyone is impacted, please refer to your local municipalities,” says Mosai.