The Democratic Alliance today calls on KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) CoGTA MEC, Sipho Hlomuka to take action once and for all by declaring the water scarce Ugu district a disaster area and directly intervene in terms of Section 139 (1).
The call comes after months of procrastination by the province’s ANC-led government as the community tries to survive without adequate water supply.
The state of Ugu is precarious and despite numerous attempts by the DA’s councillors to get to grips with the state of finances and the extent of the water crisis, officials and the municipality’s ANC-led leadership have not been transparent about matters.
What is clear though is that Ugu needs serious intervention. The DA has been waiting for answers from the MEC since May last year as to how he is going to solve the ongoing crisis within this district to no avail.
To date, our many questions to the province’s CoGTA Department have gone unanswered while, most shockingly, when the DA put aside politics and wanted to meet with MEC Hlomuka in the interests of finding solutions, he completely refused this meeting. KZN Premier, Sihle Zikalala has also been silent during this entire water disaster.
South Africa is already in an economic crisis, Ugu is a tourism hub and yet because of the political instability of the municipality, as well as the water issues, business is suffering and many people will lose their jobs. In addition, there are thousands of elderly, sick and disabled residents struggling to survive without water and a lack of water tankers in communities. This must be remedied.
Under Section 139 (1), the MEC will be given the power to issue directives to the political and administrative management of the Ugu District Municipality. Once he has done so, the DA calls on him to instruct the municipality to:
- Present detailed status reports on water and sanitation along with highlights of service delivery failure with cost estimates
- Authorise local municipalities whose buildings have water to open their facilities – with the relevant security in place – so that affected communities can collect water for domestic use and;
- Review municipal financial systems and ensure expanded budgetary concessions to infrastructure maintenance and improved billing system.
The DA also calls on the MEC to engage with the SAPS Provincial Commissioner for additional officers to secure municipal infrastructure, equipment and staff. There have already been numerous incidents of pipeline, valve and pump sabotage, burning of municipal vehicles and intimidation of non-striking staff by strikers. Lastly the MEC needs to urgently intervene in ending the strike by SAMWU workers and allow for any legal and disciplinary procedures to continue.
Despite the uncaring attitude of the MEC to date, along with the lack of interest shown by the Premier, the DA will continue to serve the residents of Ugu. The time has come for the MEC to do his job. Failure to do so could result in more violence and possibly deaths, a situation that nobody wants.