Here is my challenge to the Department of Water and Sanitation:
I have increasingly been saying that we have systemic failure in the water sector. By this I mean that critical systems are failing, and the cumulative impact of these many small failures results in a domino effect that is unstoppable, eventually culminating in failure of the state.
The modern state is based on a contract between the governed and those who govern on their behalf. When systemic failure occurs, that social contract breaks down, self-help starts to emerge.
Self-help is another word for anarchy, where each person protects themselves as best they can, exactly as they did before the social contract gave us the modern system of government. Exactly as we see happening in Ugu, the Western Cape and elsewhere.
So here is my challenge: I challenge the Minister of Water and Sanitation to demonstrate that her Department is actually in control of critical systems in the water sector.
One such system is sewage.
It is a sea of hyacinth arising from the hypertrophic status of the water – too thick to drink but too thin to plough.
The root cause is the many dysfunctional sewage works that drain most of the toilets of Gauteng into this single dam.
It is therefore a perfect barometer for measuring the health of our water sector; or conversely for measuring the extent of actual control exerted by the Minister.
Madam Minister, please show that you are in charge of a Department capable of reducing the flow of raw sewage into our national water resource, exactly as you are mandated by the National Water Act and Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. We will know that you are actually in charge when there is no more eutrophication in this specific dam.
If you are not capable of doing this, then you are unfit for office, and you need to do the honourable thing and resign, so that a more competent person can take the reigns of power.
Anthony Turton is a water strategist. These thoughts were originally shared with his Facebook followers.