n Journal of Public Administration - Governance in water conflict management in South Africa : is there a case for a constitutional review?

Volume 49, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0036-0767



Water and sanitation are constitutionally guaranteed fundamental human rights in South Africa. Comparatively South Africa has delivered on its constitutional obligation in providing water and sanitation. It is argued that the reasons for water related service delivery protests can be rationalised by applying the . Constitutional provisions give local government municipalities extreme levels of autonomy insulating it from national or provincial interference. Municipal failure to fulfil their governance and constitutional obligations has provoked debate for a constitutional review. National government has the legislative and executive authority to ensure that municipalities effectively perform their functions, contrasting with the constitutional framework within which the government needs to govern, where the central principle guiding intergovernmental relations is cooperative governance. If systematic support is provided, which is curative rather than reactionary, there would not be a need for interventions. This paper fundamentally argues that there is adequate legislation which allows for all stakeholders to implement strategies and deliver the outcomes that citizens deserve. This paper further argues that calls for a constitutional review are premature as the existing legislative framework is inclusive. Nonetheless existing water management legislation needs to be reviewed, aligned and fortified to prevent a cataclysmic failure of national proportions.

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