DA calls for water quality testing as reports of contaminated water mount

Issued by Councillor Yogiswarie Govender – DA Member of eThekwini Municipality Executive Committee
04 Aug 2022 in Press Statements

The DA in eThekwini has written to the head of Water and Sanitation, Ednick Msweli, and the head of Scientific Services, Sibongile Maqubela, to request that a water quality test be conducted following growing reports of contaminated water in the municipality.

EThekwini residents have reported that certain reservoirs, namely the Birchwood and Virginia reservoirs, appear to carry contaminated water.

In their response, the Water and Sanitation Unit advised that the reservoirs in question were drained and testing would only be done once water was restored. The real question is why did eThekwini allow this to get to this point?

The DA has also raised questions to the municipality seeking answers, action and accountability regarding the persistent failure of the sewer systems, the compromised potable water quality and clarity on the actual state of water tankers across the city.

eThekwini’s water and sanitation unit has been hemorrhaging for years and the city still seems unfazed by this ecological and health disaster which plagues thousands of ratepayers. Despite posturing that Durban is a world class city, one has only to note the frequency of electricity outages, water stoppages, sewer spills, and general filth in and around the municipality to know that it is a failed administration.

To compound matters for the city, the Umgeni water board has for months been unable to deliver on their legal obligation to supply bulk water to large portions within the eThekwini municipality. The public entity has experienced massive failures on the critical infrastructure that supplies thousands of residents in the city. The supply of tankers, which would be the contingency plan in water outages, has evolved into a crisis within a crisis as the city is unable to field enough tankers to meet demand.

Whilst the constitution is very clear about the city’s legal obligations to provide access to water, many areas are not getting water tankers for two to seven days which is in complete contravention of their human rights.

The writing is on the wall for this Municipality as the ANC barely clings to having the power to run this city. The DA will continue its oversight role, holding city leadership and administration to account.