Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane addressed delegates, including the KwaZulu-Natal Traditional Leaders today in Durban, to enlighten them on unlawful water use through sand mining.

Speaking at the stakeholders meeting, she said,”Unlawful water use activities through sand mining in rivers have become prevalent in KwaZulu-Natal and it is a serious concern.

“This unlawful activity is causing numerous and serious environmental and social problems such as the disturbance in potable water supply that has resulted in water supply cuts in some areas.”

Mokonyane highlighted the sand mining legislative requirements for engaging on sand mining activities, and encouraged stakeholder buy-in to educate communities about unlawful sand mining.

Also in attendance was Inkosi Chiliza, who made input as Chairperson of the House of Traditional Leaders in KZN.

Mokonyane stated that today’s interaction and consultation with the traditional leadership was intended to ensure an improved understanding of the impacts of sand mining and gravel extraction operations. She also said it would ensure a good relationship between Traditional Leaders and the Department of Water and Sanitation, that will ensure that sand and gravel are mined in a sustainable way.

She called on Traditional Leaders to participate in a door-to-door awareness campaign in affected communities, and to work with the department on identifying illegal sand mining and report transgressors.

” As a country, we need, to proactively root out unlawful water use, non-compliance to water use authorisation, water losses, leaks. Abiding by the law and authorisations will assist in achieving our vision of equitable and sustainable water,” she concluded