11 September 2012
We all know that there is scarcely a government department in South Africa that does not seem to be in a serious crisis, all overshadowed by the abysmally-poor handling of the Marikana incident, presided over by our third (in a row) chief of police who, surprise surprise, is (again) not a career police officer (two convicted and one now tagged with the biggest loss of human life due to police action since apartheid).
An additional crisis is that most South Africans appear to have become immune to these reports and accept them now as a way of life. This may prove to be the biggest crisis of all.
The sums seem to be adding up and it may be a reflection of the dismal state of our education system that no-one seems able to total them up. Just recently our Minister of Water Affairs announced that:
Our [South Africa] country is experiencing significant water quality challenges. We have identified the main contributors to deteriorating water quality as being the mining sector, urban development, industries (chemicals, toxins); and agriculture (sediment, nutrients, agro-chemicals, salinity through irrigation return flows). This pollution negatively impacts on the quality of ground water, which at times is the only source of water for communities in some of our rural areas.
In addition, our water ecosystems are not in a healthy state. Of the 223 river ecosystem types, 60% are threatened with 25% of these critically endangered. It is therefore clear that steps must be taken to address issues of water quality and water quantity and that solutions to these problems are interrelated and need to be addressed as such.
In the same announcement she indicated that she would need R670 billion to address capital requirements in the water resource management sector. Not an insignificant sum of money. Makes the Arms Crisis look quite tame! On the plus side, and its a small plus, she has realized that water quality is part of the equation.
Just this week we learn that the Medupi power station is R71-odd billion over budget!
Where is all the money going to come from I wonder?
DH Environmental Consulting