Government rushes out “war room” to deal with power, water crisis

  • Deputy President Paul Mashatile says that the government has created a service delivery “war room” to make sure public infrastructure works as intended.
  • Government claims interventions are being launched to secure water and electricity for South Africans.
  • These interventions come amid an election year, and a weeks long water crisis in Johannesburg.

With just under two months left for the 2024 general elections in South Africa, the government says it is now launching a wide range of interventions aimed at dealing with infrastructure challenges around the country, including protections for more power facilities and drafting legislation in response to situations like the water crisis plaguing Johannesburg.

This is according to Deputy President Paul Mashatile, who was answering questions from the media at a QnA session in the National Council of Provinces on Tuesday.

Mashatile referred to the “Service Delivery War Room” as a means through which the government will implement rapid response interventions to assuage citizens without electricity or water. The Deputy President said these interventions include the creation of a “Results Management Office” and the introduction of reforms in the way municipalities grant funding for repairs and refurbishment of infrastructure.

The war room will also look to deploy more technical professionals, seek alternative forms of renewable energy and secure water pumping infrastructure across South Africa.

Electrical infrastructure across South Africa has been consistently impacted by loadshedding, with ailing substations in cities like Johannesburg and Cape Town run down by consistent blackouts. Earlier in March, the Eikenhof substation in Johannesburg experienced a flash-over event, cutting the power to a nearby Rand Water pumping facility.

There are still regions in Johannesburg without water, now two weeks after the pumps ceased.

“As this government, we are committed to working within the inter-governmental relations framework to ensure that we assist municipalities in delivering services to our people,” said Mashatile during the session.

He added that parliament is in the process of passing legislation that will see the creation of the South African National Water Resources Infrastructure Agency, a new State-owned company, that will “enable South Africa to expand our bulk water infrastructure and improve the management of existing water assets to ensure water security over the next decade,” Mashatile explained.

South Africans head to the polls in May, and the ruling ANC party is throwing itself fully into campaigning ahead of the elections. Initiatives and tech-minded interventions to solve some of South Africa’s issues are being spun up by the government at a faster pace this year for obvious reasons. Interventions for issues that should have been launched years ago.

The nation needed a war room to solve challenges around its ailing public infrastructure immediately after the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, only now as the ANC sees its waning public perception represented in many independent opinion polls that it rushing to show that work is being done on the crisis facing South Africans around water and electricity.

[Source – SA News]

[Image – CC BY-ND 2.0 Government ZA on Flickr]


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