FEDUSA DISAPPOINTED BY GOVERNMENT NO SHOW 12 September 2011
The Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) is highly disappointed with Government’s latest no show at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC) this morning. Representatives from government departments were scheduled to meet with Organised Business and Organised Labour (FEDUSA and COSATU). COSATU recently joined FEDUSA’s Section 77 Protest Action against Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) and waste water treatment and wished to formally add additional concerns relating to water quality and accessibility.
“How can the citizens of our country believe that their government is taking the global issues of climate change and the green economy seriously when they cannot even address the immanent water crisis that is waiting to explode on their doorstep,” commented FEDUSA Spokesperson on the Section 77 water application, André Venter.
The parties present at today’s meeting consisting of FEDUSA, COSATU, the South African Local Government Association (SALGA), South African Association of Water Utilities and the Chamber of Mines instructed the Executive Director of NEDLAC to write an urgent letter to the Deputy President of South Africa to inform the presidency of the lack of Government representation and attendance.
Today’s dismal turnout echoes last week’s no show by the Deputy Director-General (DDG) of the Water Affairs Department, Fundisile Mketeni, at a parliamentary committee hearing regarding the very same issue of AMD. “When one is faced with these examples of apathy and indifference, where does Government expect to draw the political will to effect real change at the upcoming Conference of the Parties (COP) 17 in Durban later this year. South Africa is meant to be leading by example,” stated Venter.
Only R225 million has been set aside by Government to deal with AMD, which experts agree will fall far short of the more realistic R750 million needed to address the problem adequately. “FEDUSA filed Section 77 Protect Action against AMD in March this year and have been exceptionally vocal regarding the dire affects that both acid mine drainage and poor water treatment facilities have on all South Africans. While working groups have been established to tackle this impending crisis, we are still waiting on Government’s report and this latest no show further delays an already slow process,” said Venter.
FEDUSA believes that urgent action is required in the Western basin of the Witwatersrand gold fields area as acid mine water is already decanting to the surface and filtering into the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site. In addition, if no action is taken against rising AMD in the Central Witwatersrand basin, this toxic water will decant into the Boksburg area by as early as March 2013.
“We are very concerned that far too little is being done at a very slow pace. The Departments of Water Affairs, Environmental Affairs, Rural Development and Land Reform, Human Settlement, Energy, Agriculture, Mineral Resources, Cooperative Governance and Finance must start collaborating together and treat AMD with the severity this problem deserves. The additional costs of effective clean up, cannot be rerouted to the consumer. AMD is only going to become a bigger problem if the state does not start addressing its poor planning, infrastructure maintenance and ability to act swiftly and decisively,” concluded Venter
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