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Water in South Africa?

By Lerato Tsotetsi,

Did you know South Africa produces more than five billion litres of sewage every single day? 10% is ‘treated’ for direct human contact. And where does the rest end up? It’s dumped into rivers, oceans and dams.

Disgusting right?

The toxic water crisis in South Africa is out of control, we need urgent action to stop it. Will you tell the South African Minister of Water and Sanitation, Senzo Mchunu, to act now?

The crumbling water infrastructure in SA contributes to a broader range of serious impacts on biodiversity and human health:

  1. Cholera’s deadly resurgence – we’ve seen how poorly treated water opens the door to toxic algae and creates illnesses like cholera. The disease causes severe diarrhoea and dehydration, with thousands of cases and deaths reported, like in Hammanskraal, where residents are losing their loved ones to the disease. Reports say 50 people have died of an acute intestinal infection since 15 May.
  2. Children and elderly people are at high risk – in areas with no access to clean water, children and the elderly are the most vulnerable to waterborne diseases, and cases are on the rise.
  3. Loss of biodiversity – polluted water can result in the death of fish and other sea life. This can disrupt the food chain, leading to a loss of biodiversity in affected ecosystems.

Just last year, a KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) water crisis inquiry was held after over 600 complaints were submitted to the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC). The commission released a report of the findings, including violations of rights to equality and dignity, poor planning, mismanagement of resources, and inadequate infrastructure maintenance by municipalities.

In Makhanda, in the Eastern Cape, communities have been forced to find alternatives as the water has recurring outbreaks of E. coli contamination. A recent report by the Department of Water Affairs and Sanitation found that of the 155 treatment systems sampled, 41% came back showing bad microbial water quality compliance. This means 41% of our water is not safe to use.

In the meantime, the rough and heavy rains in Cape Town, Western Cape, have caused havoc – people have lost their loved ones, roads and homes have been destroyed, thousands were left without electricity, and crops are damaged, which will delay harvest for farmers. This will only cause more damage and worsen the water crisis.

There’s no more time to waste, we must act now. Will you sign this petition pressuring the SA government to prioritise finding solutions to the water crisis?

People are fed up – activists in South Africa have run a range of water campaigns on our platform, Vuma.Earth, from the Florida Hills sewage burst pipe, the Hennops River polluted with sewage, the Butterworth community that had no access to clean water and quite recently, the successful uMbilo River campaign our volunteers in Durban handed over to the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) municipality. We must come together to end the discharge of sewage into our rivers and oceans and the severe health impacts caused by a broken water system. Sign the petition now to urge Minister Senzo Mchunu to act on the severe water pollution crisis in South Africa.Water is life.


Mzukona Mantshontsho is the founder of Nyakaza Media Solutions. Nyakaza Media Solutions is an organisation that was established to help community organisations, business entities, and schools to research, write, document, report, analyse, edit, publish newsletters or bulletins in hard-copy, on-line and maintain websites with the relevant content as per the editorial policy of that organisation, school or entity. Nyakaza Media Solutions has a vision to promote and bring dialogue to communities, businesses and schools about issues that affect them. Nyakaza Media Solutions is on a mission to develop and encourage communities, businesses and learners to celebrate the good, applaud excellence, welcome growth, strive to be better individuals, businesses and communities, want more knowledge, discourage bad and counter-productive behaviour as well as communities, businesses and learners that want to be great SOUTH AFRICANS. Nyakaza Media Solutions is making use of Yo School Magazine as a platform that learners in all schools to make use of to write their stories.

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