ANC eThekwini rejects DA proposal to investigate collapsing water department

Issued by Mzamo Billy – DA eThekwini Councillor
16 Nov 2020 in Press Statements

Note to Editors: Please find the attached video of Cllr. Mzamo Billy submitting the notice of motion during the eThekwini Full Council meeting.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in eThekwini made an appeal to the council through a notice of  motion urgently investigate the collapsing Water and Sanitation Department (EWS).

This motion was submitted for consideration by council after a number of Councillors were inundated with complaints from residents across the city who have experienced unusual delayed response times to water and sewage leaks and water outages related complaints.

eThekwini Municipality’s constant failure to timeously respond to water leaks and burst sewage complaints is a cause of great concern.

According to eThekwini’s Service Level Agreement, water-related complaints should be attended to within 24 hours. However, what many residents have experienced is a municipality that has completely failed to fix complaints within this timeframe.

Instead, we have learnt that complaints generally take between 3 days to 5 years or more to be attended to and successfully resolved.

As a result, in 2019, eThekwini Municipality lost almost R1 billion worth of revenue due to water leaks. According to the 2019 Auditor General’s Report, eThekwini municipality lost about 126,18 million kilolitres of water due to unattended leaks, which resulted in revenue losses of R968 million.

This even though in 2019, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) Minister, Nkosazane Dlamini-Zuma specifically asked eThekwini municipality to put a together a plan to address irregular and wasteful expenditure, making a particular reference to water leaks.

Our motion seeks to do exactly what the minister had requested, that there be a plan in place to deal with the ongoing leaks and there be an investigation on why it takes long to attend to such complaints. Unfortunately, this motion was mischievously rejected by the ANC majority.

It is clear that the eThekwini Water and Sanitation unit is not functioning at its optimum level and therefore strong intervention is needed.

It is for this reason that the DA will now consider formally writing to Minister Dlamini-Zuma and the Auditor-General to request that they intervene and stop this wasteful expenditure. It is now evidently clear that the municipality has no plan to deal with leaks in the city. The city will continue to lose much-needed water and revenue as a result of this.

Unfortunately, residents of eThekwini must know that with the ANC having voted against investigating the collapsing water department, this subsequently means that the problems experienced will not be resolved soon.

Residents will continue to receive a substandard service from this municipality and leaks will remain unattended. The DA will however continue to fight for a more efficient municipality that put its residents first and not politics.