DA calls for Section 139 of the Constitution to be invoked in eThekwini due to municipality’s failure to fix sewage crisis

Issued by Councillor Thabani Mthethwa – DA eThekwini Caucus Leader
24 Nov 2022 in Press Statements

The DA in eThekwini Municipality today calls for the immediate intervention of the KwaZulu- Natal provincial government in terms of Section 139 of the Constitution in the ongoing sewer crisis in the city.

This follows the more than seven months of uncontrollable sewerage flowing in the city’s rivers and beaches causing a serious health crisis and damage to the tourism sector.

In September 2022, the DA through Hon Martin Meyer, 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 but this was ignored by the ANC.

Section 139 of the Constitution states; When a municipality cannot or does not fulfill an executive obligation in terms of the Constitution or legislation, the relevant provincial executive may intervene by taking any appropriate steps to ensure fulfillment of that obligation. This does not mean a total collapse of the municipality but for the provincial government to intervene specifically in the sewage crisis.

The DA in eThekwini has been leading the fight to force the ANC and its partners to resolve the sewage crisis and we have made numerous efforts which included writing to the municipality through our lawyers in terms of Section 24 and 152 (1)(b) and (c), Part B of Schedule 4 to the Constitution, the National Water Act 38 of 1998 and the National Environmental Management Act, eThekwini municipality but our pleas fell on deaf ears.

It is now even clearer that there has been a severe violation of the Constitution and various pieces of legislation by eThekwini and National Government which has resulted in the sewage crisis residents currently face, as well as the unmitigated environmental disaster currently unfolding in our rivers and ocean. Sadly, eThekwini municipality, the ANC, ABC and others do not have the plan to resolve the sewage crisis and the provincial government must intervene and ensure compliance.