Alfred Nzo District Municipality has 14 days to respond to water crisis memorandum

Issued by Baxolile Nodada MP – Alfred Nzo Constituency Leader
30 Aug 2019 in Press Statements

Note to Editors: Please find attached soundbites in English and isiXhosa by Baxolile Nodada, MP.

The residents of the Alfred Nzo District Municipality (ANDM) are being denied their constitutional right to water and have been forgotten by an uncaring ANC government.

Today, 30 August 2019, I was joined by DA Women’s Network Eastern Cape Provincial Chairperson, Georgina Faldtman, DA member of the Eastern Cape Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), Sanele Magaqa, MPL, local councillors and community members in leading a picket in front of the Alfred Nzo District Municipality offices in Mount Ayliff.

Many elderly gogos, who bear the brunt of this crisis, also shared their daily struggles with the people in attendance at the picket. See pictures attached here, here and here.

Between 8 July and 19 August I did oversight inspections at several villages and wards in the district and was shocked by the lack of water and sanitation provided to our people. I found that people have to make use of rivers and share water sources with animals. In some cases water infrastructure has been installed, but the taps are mostly dry and water trucks are not being dispatched by the Municipality.

Elderly, some older than 80 years of age, and sickly people have to walk several kilometres to fetch water, or have to pay other people to do this duty for them.

On the 17th of July I wrote to the Executive Mayor of the ANDM, Cllr Sixolile Mehlomakhulu, and gave him 7 days to respond with a water plan for the district, but received no feedback.

This followed after I conducted an oversight inspection at Ndarhala Village and found that the community’s only water source is the Umzimvubu River. On 25 July I Iodged a complaint with the South African Human Rights Commission and on the 19th of August the commission informed me that its provincial manager will now do an assessment of the situation. See letter attached here.

Today we also submitted a memorandum to the municipality in which we demand some of the following of Mayor Mehlomakhulu:

• Provide proof of a budget for water and sanitation for the Alfred Nzo District Municipality with specific details of where water will be installed in this financial year;

• Proof of how many villages of the 187 in the district have permanent good quality water accessible on a daily basis, and proof of a daily water delivery plan to communities without;

• Provide a plan with specific timelines of when underground infrastructure, taps and water will be installed; and

•Commit to delivering water to these wards/villages/communities at least twice a week as a temporary measure.

We have given the Mayor 14 days to respond to these demands.

Furthermore, DA Shadow MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional (CoGTA), Vicky Knoetze, MPL, and DA Deputy Shadow Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation, Emma Powell, MP, have been written to and asked to take the plight of these people to the Eastern Cape Legislature and Parliament.

Only a DA government can ensure that the human rights of the long suffering residents of rural Eastern Cape are protected, and that they receive the basic services they are entitled to.