KZN Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) has delivered thousands of water tanks for domestic use by communities as well as schools across the province where shortages of potable water were being felt during various stages of the Covid-19-related lockdown.

“Through our water intervention programme, we procured and distributed via Water Service Authorities some 3000 water tanks for domestic use. We also engaged the National Disaster Command, which donated a further 2325 tanks. Of these water tanks, 1125 were ring-fenced for distribution to schools,” said KZN MEC for Cogta Sipho Hlomuka.

When the country enforced the Disaster Management Act lockdown regulations, effective from 27 March 2020 to date, KZN Cogta was mandated to lead and coordinate all water interventions to ensure portable water supply for domestic use and assist other government departments, including Education, Health, Social Development and Justice (courts). While the delivery of water is not a core function of the department, it has a responsibility to capacitate and support local government institutions who are tasked with this responsibility.

“Our needs analysis reflected that over 1000 schools in the province needed static tanks to augment water supply which battled with varying challenges, including unpaid municipal water accounts, dysfunctional or ageing water infrastructure and illegal connections, all of which negatively contributed to the water supply,” said Hlomuka.

KZN Cogta’s static tanks are making a difference in communities and schools where water shortages had long been a problem and where the supply of water became a matter of urgency with the onset of lockdown regulations, many of which require enhanced personal hygiene as a way to limit the spread of Covid-19.

“Our success in the delivery of water to communities and schools is something we are determined to build on even as we, as a department, face budget reprioritisation as a result of unforeseen expenditure incurred in the fight against the spread of Covid-19. The delivery of water is and will remain a priority,” said Hlomuka.