Ethekwini sewage crisis: DA calls on Premier to invoke Section 139 of the Constitution

Issued by Martin Meyer, MPL – DA KZN Spokesperson on CoGTA
22 Sep 2022 in Press Statements

The DA has today called on KwaZulu-Natal Premier, Nomusa Dube-Ncube to invoke Section 139 of the Constitution following the eThekwini municipality’s ongoing failure to deal with the metro’s growing sewage crisis.

The call forms part of DA party motion, debated in the KZN Legislature earlier today.

Section 139 of the Constitution states; When a municipality cannot or does not fulfil an executive obligation in terms of the Constitution or legislation, the relevant provincial executive may intervene by taking any appropriate steps to ensure fulfilment of that obligation.

It is clear that eThekwini municipality cannot fulfil its obligation to provide its almost four million residents with clean water while providing them with a safe and clean environment.

The DA believes that Members of the Legislature have a legal and moral obligation to intervene. Certainly, the municipality’s ANC-run coalition government isn’t doing anything.

The first measurement of a municipality is if it can get the basics rights. This includes water, electricity, road conditions and waste disposal. In this regard eThekwini is a failed metro.

While the floods in our province have compounded matters, the problematic state of eThekwini’s waste water works predates this.

The DA is also aware that eThekwini did not come close spending 8% of its budget on maintenance, as prescribed by Treasury.

EThekwini is not only facing a sewage and water crisis as a result of the floods. Many displaced people are still living in squalid conditions in community halls, numerous schools are not fully functional and Tongaat remains without water. The South African Human Rights Commission report on eThekwini’s response to the floods is damning and backs up everything the DA has said and continues to say.

The question is: Why is this ANC-run provincial government turning a blind eye to eThekwini’s continued failures while peoples’ lives are being endangered? And what is it doing to ensure that R1billion promised by national government in flood aid materialises?

There is a stench hanging over eThekwini and it is not just the stench of sewage. It is also the stench of a failing and dying ANC.

The Premier must act. She cannot sit by idly and allow the failures of eThekwini to define her term. The people of our province are looking to her and her government for help.