Water and Sanitation Deputy Minister, David Mahlobo has called for enhanced collaborative efforts towards water sustainability across the globe.
Mahlobo made a call during the Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (BRICS) Water Ministers’ virtual meeting held on Thursday.
Speaking on behalf of Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu, Mahlobo 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 showed 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 said.
Mahlobo added that the effects of climate change had 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.Minister David Mahlobo.
“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 said.
The Deputy Minister also reiterated 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,” Mahlobo added.
The Deputy Minister further emphasised that the current dispensation has come a long way since 1994, and in terms of the provision of water services, South Africa has increased delivery from 64% in 1994 to 94% in 2021. He however, admitted that much still has to be done.
The BRICS Water Minister’s Meeting was the first of its kind as proposed in 2019 by India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi who motivated that sustainable water management and sanitation are major challenges which required urgent attention.