The Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane’s commitment to resolve all (104) cases of South African mines operating without valid Water Use Licences by 31 October 2014, it said in a statement.

“The ambitious deadline set by the Minister must not turn the critical process of granting Water Use Licenses into a rubber-stamp exercise,” stated the DA in a press statement.

Licences minimise pollution risk

These licenses are issued to mines by the department to ensure water resources are effectively managed and the risk of pollution is minimised.

This is a critical mandate of the department and one that cannot be rushed through for the Minister to create the impression she is resolving the licensing issue, rather than sweeping it under the carpet.

Task team announcement

Mokonyane’s office announced the appointment of a task team to resolve water problems around Giyani in Limpopo in August.

“The minister appointed a designated project manager through [the] Lepelle Water Board to take over all water-related matters and the delivery thereof,” spokesperson Brenda Mpitsang said in a statement at the time.

Misleading civil servants

Mpitsang said Mokonyane told residents that civil servants were giving her misleading progress reports about the state of water in Mopani district.

The Minister said her department would audit all water resources between August and September including boreholes, with a view to improving and upgrading them to ensure sustainable water provision.

The DA said it would rigorously monitor the task team’s progress. “Should the Minister fail to deliver on her promise we will use the Portfolio Committee on Water and Sanitation to summon her to Parliament to account for missing her own deadline,” it said.

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