The Democratic Alliance (DA) in eThekwini has written to the new Acting Deputy City Manager, Lawrence Pato, for him to shed light on the state of the Water and Sanitation unit in the City and its consistent inability to meet its mandate.
This follows public representatives throughout the City continuing to receive hundreds of complaints from residents about the non-responsiveness of the municipality when burst water pipes, water outages and sewage leaks are reported.
We have learnt that complaints generally take between 3 days to 5 years to be resolved.
Despite repeated questions, meetings and interventions requested by various DA representatives, the situation is not improving.
We are particularly concerned about this because unattended water leaks mean loss of much-needed revenue for the City. According to the 2019 Auditor General’s Report, eThekwini lost about 126.18 million kilolitres due to leaks, which resulted in revenue losses of R968 million.
This is consistent with previous reports that the city was losing 51% of its billable water on a monthly basis.
It is abundantly clear that there is a problem. We will also be proposing through Human Settlements and Infrastructure Committee Chairperson, Councillor Thanduxolo Sabelo, that the Water and Sanitation unit submit a monthly status report on all water-related complaints received in the city. This report must include turnaround times for repairs, a monthly percentage of water losses and actions taken to remedy problems.
It is clear that the situation is only getting worse and therefore we must enhance political oversight as elected public representatives to ensure that the response time taken to tend to water leaks and bursts pipes in the city are addressed, and issues are attended to within a reasonable time.
It cannot be business as usual while the City loses huge amounts of money and valuable water and residents don’t receive quality services.