uMhlathuze water crisis: Irregular reports demand urgent attention

Issued by Chris Pappas, MPL – DA KZN Spokesperson on CoGTA
11 Feb 2021 in Press Statements

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) has today written to Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) portfolio committee Chairperson, Zinhle Cele, requesting an urgent oversight inspection to the City of uMhlatuze.

The call comes after days of violent protests linked to water-related issues within the eMadlankala area outside eSikhaleni as well as other surrounding areas.

The DA is alarmed by the situation unfolding within the uMhlathuze Municipality. This includes conflicting reports by the Mayor, the Council and city officials when it comes to the water situation.

Of particular concern is that the situation has been politicized to the detriment of the community at large. ANC factions within the community are taking advantage of the situation by driving political agendas. In addition to this, there are reports of politically-linked business forums being involved in acts of sabotage.

While the DA does not condone any form of violence or destruction of infrastructure, we do however sympathise with communities across the province who are experiencing progressively worse service delivery failures.

What is clear is that Mayor Mduduzi Mhlongo has – for a long time now – been failing the people of uMhlathuze and eSikhaleni. Water is a basic right and the failure of uMhlathuze to ensure the sustainable delivery of drinking water is a breach of its constitutional obligations. Residents do not want excuses, they want service delivery.

The DA will be writing to KZN CoGTA MEC, Sipho Hlomuka to request a report on the situation within the next 48 hours. In addition, we have given Honourable Cele until Wednesday 17 February to arrange for the entire CoGTA portfolio committee to visit the area. In the event that this does not happen, the DA will embark on its own oversight and fact-finding mission, as per the mandate given to us by the voters of KZN.

The IFP has proved to be an ineffective official opposition and is complicit in the decline of many of our province’s municipalities, while no further explanation is need about the poor performance of the ANC.

The DA remains the loudest voice advocating for a capable state – one that is transparent and addresses the needs of all KZN’s communities. We will not sit back and allow the collapse of municipalities in our province without a fight.