WATCH | 'Cheap politicking' - Sihle Zikalala slammed for water project launch
KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala has caught fire for his recent campaign in the Harry Gwala District after a video of him drinking water from a newly installed tap made the rounds on Twitter.
On Tuesday, Zikalala, who was joined by other government officials, launched the KZN water master plan and borehole intervention programme aimed at alleviating the shortage of water in rural municipalities.
As part of the plan, 250 boreholes in six districts; Amajuba, uMkhanyakude, Zululand, uMzinyathi, uThukela and Harry Gwala, have been built.
In the video, locals can be seen standing behind the premier while he opens the tap and drinks water from a glass. Cheering, ululation and clapping can be heard in the background.
The video has rubbed social media users the wrong way, with some accusing the premier and the ruling party of "cheap politicking" ahead of the local government elections on November 1.
One SA Movement leader Mmusi Maimane took to the comments section and wrote: “The people are not taken seriously by the ANC.”
“African leaders have no shame. It's 2021 and they expect to be applauded for addressing a basic human right,” wrote Twitter user @IamNthi.
KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala formally launched the KZN Water Master Plan and Borehole Intervention Programme in the Harry Gwala District.— KZN Provincial Gov (@kzngov) September 28, 2021
The launch of the Water Master Plan aims to alleviate the shortage of water which is plaguing rural municipalities. #KZNWaterMasterPlan pic.twitter.com/9CxFAcqQBB
The department of water & sanitation said it will support the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government in its efforts and interventions to ensure access to clean water for all.
“As a department, we welcome the great strides being undertaken to ensure long-term interventions are put in place to address water security in the province,” spokesperson Sputnik Ratau said.
Ratau said the launch could not have come at a better time as the province's dam water levels are on the decline.
“The launch is timely as the province’s dam levels are declining on a weekly basis. A weekly status of reservoirs report issued early this week has shown a decline from last week’s 66.5% to 66.3%.
“Our hydrologists are telling us that we must expect the unexpected this rainy summer season. Dams can further decline or fill up to the maximum. It is for this reason that we should not let any drop of water go to waste,” he said.
President Cyril Ramaphosa said installing reliable water infrastructure and ensuring access to clean water was one of the ANC's top priorities in the next five years, should it get elected into power in November.
“We are going to improve the quality of water and sewerage infrastructure and reduce water leaks. We will ensure that all poor households will receive the free basic water allocation to which they are entitled in terms of our policy,” said Ramaphosa.
Good governance or scoring political points? Here's what was said on Twitter:
Through the KZN Water Master Plan we are also creating jobs with the total of 530 job opportunities created already. Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic our boreholes have been saving lives by enabling communities to maintain basic standards of hygiene.— @lennoxmabaso (@MabasoLennox) September 28, 2021