The Department of Education has been compelled to put together a water disaster management plan for schools, after a motion from the Democratic Alliance was unanimously adopted by the House in the Provincial Legislature on Thursday.
This is part of our ongoing fight to put forward constructive solutions around Day Zero in Nelson Mandela Bay and surrounds.
I also tabled oral questions in a House Sitting on Wednesday, 22 June 2022, asking the Education MEC, Fundile Gade, whether the department had any plans for schools to have access to potable water once the taps run dry in Nelson Mandela Bay and Kouga areas.
With reference to the oral question posed to the MEC, the Department was unable to inform me how many schools in these two areas have connected water thanks, or how many have access to water via boreholes. This is a clear indication that the Department has not given any attention to the severe water crisis in these areas.
The MEC confirmed that there were no plans in place and there were merely some discussions that took place at senior management level. This is of great concern, as 40% of NMB taps will run dry in the next few days.
The DA’s motion tabled compels the department to do the following:
(i) The Department of Education must, as a matter of urgency, conduct an impact assessment of all schools in the Nelson Mandela Bay and Kouga municipalities, with regards to how they will be affected by the unfolding water crisis;
(ii) Use the information from this impact assessment to develop a disaster management plan which will ensure:
a. All schools in the affected areas have access to potable water and sanitation through either connected water tanks or boreholes; and
b. Resources are made available for schools to fill their water tanks;
(iii) Implement the disaster management plan before learners return from the June school recess period and make the plan available to the Portfolio Committee of Education before schools return from recess.
We welcome the fact that the members of the Eastern Cape provincial Legislature supported this motion.
The learners and residents of this province cannot afford to have a reactive government in times of crisis. The provincial and national government structures have been aware, for a very long time, that these areas of the province are faced with major water crises.
The DA will continue to fight for the learners in this province by any means available in the government structure to do so.