Address by Honourable Deputy Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Mme Rejoice Mabudafhasi on the Occasion of the launch of Setsoto Women Empowerment Adopt a River Project at Mapenyadira Community Hall in Ficksburg, Free State
3 Aug 2012
Honourable Speaker of Setsoto Municipality: Cllr Pius Mohlomi
Setsoto Women Empowerment
Members of the community
Members of the media
Ladies and gentlemen
I am happy to be here with you during this auspicious launch of the Setsoto Women Empowerment Adopt a River project.
This launch takes place now during the Month of August and just few days before Women’s Day. This month is celebrated annually by people from all walks of life as Women’s Month.
This year we are commemorating Women's Month under the theme: 56 years of women united against poverty, inequality and unemployment.
It is in this month that we as government and as a nation pay tribute and honour the heroines of the liberation struggle who marched to the Union Buildings in 1956 to protest against oppressive apartheid laws.
The struggle for women continues but this time it is about fighting water pollution and conserving the little water that we have for the present and future generations.
Women are the custodians of water resources - we are the ones who bear the brunt of water borne diseases and walk long distances to fetch water, hence we clean our rivers and educate other community members especially those residing at river banks about the dangers of polluting our rivers.
The Department of Water Affairs initiated the Adopt a River project as part of the River Health Programme to ensure that our rivers are protected from any kind of pollution that might seek to threaten the river health.
I also appealed to my colleagues in parliament, municipalities, traditional leaders, business people, NGO’s, and community members to adopt rivers where they live. Our rivers are the main sources of our finite precious resource – water.
I would like to commend the group of women from this municipality for their great initiative and innovation in establishing the Setsoto Women Empowerment Organisation. In November 2011 the Setsoto Women Empowerment organisation took a decision to embark on Adopt a River project. The aim was to take care of Caledon River which is one of the important water sources in Ficksburg. The Caledon River is often polluted by Ficksburg and Lesotho residents residing along the river banks.
The organisation also managed to get support from Setsoto Local municipality and is still in the process of getting support from the Lesotho government as Lesotho residents also contribute in polluting the river. Through this organisation 30 women and six men are working on the project to take care of the river.
The organisation conducts education and awareness in schools, community and use local media to reach more people.
The Department of Water Affairs provided the Setsoto Women Empowerment organisation with training on First Aid, Snake handling and Environmental awareness. We also provided them with protective clothing, first aid kits and tongs for snake handling.
As we all know that empowering women is one of the smartest investments any country can make towards its development. We believe that sustainable water resources management is achieved by full participation of women.
We are here today to give praise, offer recognition and appreciation for the amazing and sterling work that is being done by the women of Setsoto.
Government recognises that the promotion of gender equality and women’s empowerment are central to all efforts aimed at combating poverty and stimulating sustainable development.
As part of interventions by the Department of Water Affairs we are pursuing Ground Water Management and Rain Water Harvesting initiatives in ThaboMofutsanyane District Municipality. The Ground Water Management programme is intended to provide clean, safe and sustainable water accessibility to certain rural communities through groundwater resources with a broader goal of improving their health and livelihoods.
The activities performed in this area included hydro census and aquifer test pumping on the three boreholes. In Clocolan, five boreholes were identified; the only activity performed in this area was the hydro census and Geographical Information System mapping of all the boreholes. A total of ten boreholes were identified in Marquad. Two production boreholes were recommended for aquifer test pumping and three were newly drilled boreholes which were recommended for abstraction.
The Department’s Regional Office: Free State, as part of its commitment to contribute meaningfully to Rural Development, food Security and Land Reform is implementing the Rainwater Harvesting Programme. The primary objective of the Rainwater Harvesting Programme is to ensure access to water for purposes of household food security.
However in some instances water harvested by means of the rainwater harvesting tanks may serve as the only domestic water supply. Ten tanks were provided to the Setsoto LM in the previous financial year as part of the regional intervention in the area and were mainly used for potable water supply.
The overall impact and changes brought about by the above interventions are the following:
- Improved water supply in Ficksburg, every household receives water after the intervention;
- Achieved 1.2 Mega Litres of water saving in the Meqheleng town;
- Minimised sewage spillages in Meqheleng Town after the phase 1 intervention;
- Improved operation and effluent quality of Bethlehem Waste Water Treatment Works by refurbishing unit process by implementing automation and monitoring;
- Improved pumping system form the abstraction point and the booster pump station to pump to the main reservoirs in Fouriesburg;
- Improved water supply in the Setsoto LM on the additional boreholes drilled and connected to the existing infrastructure to supply Marquard Town;
- There is an improvement in the Blue and Green Drop Scores, and improved management and understanding of drinking water and wastewater;
- In terms of the development of bylaws, municipalities have been sensitised to the legislative importance of having approved bylaws;
- The training of operators has assisted in the compliance to the requirements as set by the Blue Drop and Green Drop system.
In a quest to inculcate the culture of water conservation and promotion of careers in the water sector, the Department continues to embark on various programmes such as Adopt a River, War on Leaks, 2020 Vision Programme, Women in Water programme and many others. I am grateful to announce that young people from Setsoto Municipality are also taking part in the aforementioned programmes.
In conclusion, I would like to urge community members, business people, NGO’s and Municipalities to adopt rivers where they live, clean the rivers and protect them against any kind of pollution.
I also like to say thank you to Setsoto Women Empowerment Organisation for the great initiative of adopting the Caledon River.
I thank you.
Issued by: Department of Water Affairs
3 Aug 2012
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