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					10 years – 10 million people!
Statement by Minister Sonjica on the celebration of the 10 millionth person to receive safe water since 1994
Media release by the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry 12 November 2004 Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry, Ms Sonjica, today joined the community of Soverby in the Northern Cape to celebrate the Government’s delivery of clean water to 10 million people in 10 years. The Coetzee family of Soverby, in the Northern Cape, was acknowledged by Minister Sonjica at a community celebration in Soverby, as the symbolic 10 millionth recipient of safe, clean water from the Government’s Community Water Supply and Sanitation programme since 1994. Today’s event marked an historic moment in the Government’s record of service delivery. The momentous occasion lends an eloquent testimony to the Government’s oft stated peoples’ contract for improved service delivery. Nowhere in the world has a Government delivered clean water to so many of its people in such a short time. In 1994 the new Government inherited a backlog of 14 million people without clean, safe water while 21 million people did not have access to adequate sanitation. Currently 5 million people still lack access to clean safe water while 16 million lack access to adequate sanitation. “While the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry’s direct action programme has now come to an end, we are confident that municipalities have already picked up the baton and are running with it” said Minister Sonjica. “Government is on track to wipe out the infrastructure backlog for basic water supply by 2008 and for sanitation by 2010. We have already long exceeded the target set by the Heads of State at the Millennium Assembly of the United Nations in 2000. They declared that by 2015 the number of the world’s population without access to basic water must be reduced by 50%”. “In the 1994 Reconstruction and Development Programme, one of the most widely consulted policy programmes in the world, the newly-elected South African Government committed itself to the short term aim of providing every person with enough water for health “by establishing a national water and sanitation programme which aims to provide all households with a clean, safe water supply of 20 – 30 litres per capita per day and adequate sanitation facilities”. We did this and so took our first steps up the country’s water ladder”. “But we are not going to be content when everyone has got onto the first rung of that water ladder, with access to water at a tap in the street, and adequate sanitation”. “The promise for the next ten years is to move up the ladder, from communal tap to the convenience and dignity of having water in people’s own yards with each household having its own toilet and even, in time, hot and cold running water inside the house enjoyed by many more of our people. That’s what I mean by climbing the water ladder. As we climb the ladder, so our people will experience more improved standards of supply and services.” While the funds for basic water supply and sanitation investments are now channelled to municipalities through the MIG (Municipal Infrastructure Grant), the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry provides extensive technical support to local government to ensure that the implementation of the programme continues. Aside from a billion plus Rand a year budget from Government, the programme continues to enjoy substantial support from international donors notably the European Union and its member states as well as China and Japan. Enquiries: Themba Khumalo, Media Liaison Officer

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Description: PRESS INVITATION