DA provides immediate steps to save NMB and Kouga from Day Zero

Issued by Nqaba Bhanga – DA EC Provincial Leader
23 Apr 2020 in Press Statements

At a time when water is of the utmost importance in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, the Nelson Mandela Bay and Kouga Municipalities are on the brink of Day Zero.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Eastern Cape has, therefore, come up with a plan that government can implement with immediate effect to avoid the Metro running dry.

The City’s supply dams are at 22.16% of capacity. The Kouga dam is at 12.29%, followed by the Impofu dam (16.45%), Loerie dam (29.44%), Groendal dam (37.20%), and Churchill dam at 68.93%. No significant rainfall is predicted over the next six months.

The last 10% of water in any dam is unusable, which means that, technically, dam levels are at 12.16% The Metro is also using 300 megalitres of water per day while the daily consumption level should be 250 megalitres.

Regardless of the lack of rain, the current ANC-led coalition government has failed dismally in all respects to attend to the water crisis.

Since August 2018 the NMB Municipality has been aware that a barge is needed to extract what is left of the potable water in the Impofu dam. The barge will take five weeks to become operational but nothing has been done to make this happen.

The Coegakop Wellfield project is at a standstill and the Metro has not spent a cent of its R200-million Drought Mitigation Funding “committed” to this project.

The metro administration has repeatedly insisted that a desalination plant is the solution to the water crisis. A desalination plant can take between 3 – 5 years to complete and can’t resolve the current problem.

The current administration has allowed the  Metro disaster declaration to lapse and it now stands to lose substantial drought funding in terms of the Disaster Management Act.

NMB Action Plan:

  • We have written to the Speaker to request an urgent council meeting via a digital platform.
  • The DA has written to the Department of Water Affairs (DWA) to second a water infrastructure engineer to NMB.
  • We have written to the MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), Xolile Nqatha, and requested that the Eastern Cape CoGTA portfolio committee urgently convenes to discuss measures to assist NMB and the Kouga Municipality.
  • Council must request urgent advice from National Treasury on measures to prevent the forfeiture of the R200-million Drought Mitigation Funding.
  • Council must immediately make funds available to get the barge on the Impofu dam functional within 5 weeks.

The DA-led Kouga Municipality stand in sharp contrast with the failures of the ANC-led NMB and has been doing excellent work in spending a R151-million drought disaster grant. The municipality has already spent more than R108-million (71.79%) and still has R42.6-million available. The remaining funds have been committed to projects that were due for completion by mid-June 2020, but have now stalled due to Coronavirus lockdown regulations.

Kouga successes:

  • Developing new boreholes at Jeffreys Bay, Humansdorp, Patensie, and Hankey.
  • The Jeffreys Bay Water Treatment Works and Kruisfontein Water Treatment Works are being upgraded.
  • Ongoing interventions to improve Water Conservation and Demand Management include extensive leak repairs.
  • Through extensive communications and awareness campaigns daily water consumption has been reduced from 30 megalitres to 17 megalitres.

Contractors have closed all drought project sites due to lockdown regulations. The municipality has started a process to fast track drought relief projects by recalling the contractors and facilitating the successful procurement of goods and services.

Kouga Action Plan:

  • Urgently confirm that drought projects are essential services in order for the municipality to legally complete work in line with current legislation. The municipality will write to DWS to obtain guidance in this regard.
  • Consultants and contractors must make preparations for the re-commencement of construction work.
  • Consultants must provide the municipality with an updated project cost that reflects the anticipated impact from claims and provide possible mitigation measures.

If we all work together we can avert this water crisis and successfully fight the Covid-19 pandemic.