Civil society organisations, the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) and Water Shortage South Africa (WSSA), believe the establishment of an independent regulator will result in an effective and efficient water sector and help to protect South Africa's scarce water supplies.
The pair have teamed up to “champion” calls for an independent national water regulator in South Africa and have set up a steering committee with representatives from each organisation and technical and policy specialists.
“Over the next two years, the steering committee aims to engage all interested and affected stakeholders across the country to gather and consolidate their inputs to present before the appropriate State institutions,” WSSA CEO Benoît Le Roy said in a statement on Tuesday.
“The myriad of issues in the Department of Water and Sanitation require serious and effective intervention and the establishment of a regulator independent from the department is a solution that both Outa and WSSA agree on,” said Outa water and environment portfolio manager Yamkela Ntola.
Le Roy believed the presence of a regulator would also unlock much-needed investment in the water sector and would ensure the Constitutional right to healthy water.
The independent regulation of water would ensure apolitical, scientific data-based management of South Africa’s water allocations to the various sectors; the regulation of pollution of water resources; oversee the quality of potable water provided by government-controlled water boards, utilities and cities; and ensure equitable pricing to all water users in a fair and transparent manner.
The committee outlined its objectives and the programme for 2019, with details expected to be made available within the first quarter of next year on how Outa and WSSA will engage with all stakeholders, Ntola noted.