Johannesburg, 10 May 2018 — Greenpeace Africa has launched a petition calling on President Ramaphosa to put water at the centre of all government decision-making. This comes in the wake of news that South Africa’s auditor-general has reported to parliament that irregular expenditure at the Department of Water and Sanitation has rocketed from R4 billion to R6.4 billion. In response to the development, Greenpeace Africa Senior Climate and Energy Campaign Manager, Melita Steele has said:

“The massive irregular expenditure at the Department of Water and Sanitation is just one more reason for water to become central to all government decision-making. In the face of devastating water scarcity and one of the worst droughts in living memory, it can no longer be one department’s responsibility to ensure that water is adequately managed in South Africa.

Greenpeace Africa believes that water is a fundamental human right. We cannot live without it, and we must make sure that people’s right to water is put first and protected. This is why we have launched a petition calling on President Ramaphosa to clearly prioritise water as a human right. We are asking the President to lead a process where administrative and policy steps are taken that will mandate government departments, agencies, and entities to place water at the centre of all their decision-making processes.

We need to radically rethink our relationship to and management of water. Water as a fundamental human right must become more than just rhetoric. While the rains in Cape Town may slowly be starting, we must keep water sharply in focus. Water scarcity is an ongoing significant challenge as climate change is likely to worsen.

Mega water users should no longer have a licence to use as much water as they like. No government department should be taking decisions that put this human right at risk, and we are asking South Africans to sign our petition to help us Defend Water”.


South Africa’s mean annual precipitation is 50% lower than the global average, and we live in a water scarce region. The Department of Water Affairs and Sanitation has projected that water demand will exceed supply by 2025, even by its most conservative scenario, unless considerable attention is paid to managing water demand.

The petition can be found here:


[email protected]; Head of Communication – Greenpeace Africa; 0716881274