Covid-19: New regulations to get water and sanitation packs to communities

There is now an emergency procurement mechanism in place

Phot of water tanker

Makhanda residents collect water from a water tanker brought by humanitarian aid organisation, Gift of the Givers. Archive photo from before lockdown: Lucas Nowicki

By Tania Broughton

16 April 2020

Emergency procurement of water tanks and tankers has been authorised in a bid to roll out water and sanitation to thousands of communities during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Newly-published regulations give centralised “command control” to a National Disaster Water Command centre, to be run by Rand Water, along with representatives of municipalities, irrigation and water boards.

They give legal effect to recent pronouncements by Minister for Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Lindiwe Sisulu that the government aims to supply water, mainly through tanks and tankers, to more than 2,000 communities.

They allow for emergency procurement for the manufacture, supply and delivery of tanks, tankers, installation of taps and communal standpipes, ablution blocks and toilets and “sanitation packs” consisting of hand soap, sanitisers, rubber gloves and masks.

A procurement officer will have the power to engage directly with manufacturers to negotiate quantities needed.

These negotiations must be formally recorded. Bulk purchases should be considered to ensure value for money.

These deals will be specifically audited after the lockdown.

The command centre must set up a monitoring system to track the outcome of all urgent procurement decisions and where the equipment has been distributed.

Regions of the department must provide geographic information system (GIS) coordinates regarding the work done to implement the directions.

Water service authorities, such as water boards and municipalities, must identify appropriate public spaces for the placement of tanks and tankers, provide security to prevent vandalism and theft and designate staff to monitor the availability of water and report back every two days on this.

All water providers in the country can be directed to make water available on demand and will be reimbursed on invoice.