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Launch of Services on Privately Owned Land Policy

04 March 2024
On the 1st of March 2024, the Minister of Water and Sanitation Honourable Senzo Mchunu, accompanied by Hon MEC for CoGTA Ms Bongi Sithole Moloi, District Mayor Cllr Mzi Zuma, Msunduzi Mayor, Cllr Mzi Thebolla, uMshwathi Mayor Cllr Mandla Zondi, Amakhosi, Board members of UMngeni/ uThukela Water and officials from various departments and Municipalities, launched the Services on Privately owned land policy. This historic event was held for the first time in the country at Cool Air sports field, uMshwathi in the uMgungundlovu District Municipality. The next stop will be Limpopo and all other provinces will follow until the whole country has been covered. The policy that the Minister was here to launch, is a culmination of the work done in 2011 when the Department developed a draft water and sanitation services policy on privately owned land. This policy development was in response to the 2017 Court Case of Mshengu vs uMsunduzi, uMshwathi Local Municipalities, uMgungundlovu District Municipality and others, including DWS as the sixth respondent. On the 29 July 2019, the court declared that the Municipalities failure to provide farm occupiers and labour tenants who are residing within its areas of jurisdiction with access to basic sanitation, sufficient water and refuse collection services is inconsistent with the constitution of South Africa. • The court also directed the Municipality to comply with Regulation 3 of the Regulation relating to Compulsory National Standards and Measures to Conserve Water by: • Installing enough water use connections to supply a minimum amount of portable water of 25liters per person per day, or 6kl kilolitres per household per month to farm occupiers and labour tenants residing within its area of jurisdiction. • Ensuring that the water use connection supply water at a minimum flow of not less than 10 litres per minute and • Ensuring that the water user connections supplied are within 200 meters of the farm occupiers’ households. • The court also ordered the Municipality was also directed to provide farm occupiers and labour tenants with access basic sanitation by installing Ventilated Improved Pit toilets (“VIP toilets”) • Furthermore, the court ordered the Municipality to priorities the rights of farm occupiers and labour tenants in its integrated development plans. The Minister and his entourage paid a visit to the home of Mr Zabalaza Mshengu, who together with Ms Thab’sile Ngema and AFRA, took government to court over lack of provisions of basic services like water and sanitation. This was mainly as a result of owners of private land, especially farms, refusing municipalities access to their properties to lay infrastructure to bring services to the people. The entourage then proceeded to the Windyhill farm to see the borehole project that was brought by UMDM to provide water to the farm dwellers. Addressing the people there, UMDM Mayor, Cllr Mzi Zuma said to the farm dwellers who were there, “ We are happy that you now have clean running water here, but this is not the end. We want to ensure that each household has water inside their yard, and we are working on that. We are also aware that there is a shortage of toilets, which forces households to share toilets. We have finished with our planning regarding that. We will start building toiles for each household this month. “ said Nxamalala to ululations and whistles of joy and approval. When the Minister addressed the masses from the farms who were in attendance, he said,” The policy that we are launching today, was developed through extensive collaboration with stakeholders, experts and the affected communities. It underscores the dedication of the South African government’s commitment to an inclusive, efficient and environmentally responsible approach. It outlines guidelines that foster partnerships between government agencies, local authorities, private land owners, and service providers. Our shared responsibility is to ensure that every individual, no matter where they call home, can exercise their basic human right to access clean water and adequate sanitation.” He emphasised that any one who denies the Municipality access to their land to provide services to the people living in that property, will be breaking the law.