DA approaches Human Rights Commission regarding Nelson Mandela Bay water crisis

09 Sep 2020 in Press Statements

The inability of the ANC-led Coalition of Corruption government to deal with the water crisis in Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB) has now become a human rights issue.

The Constitution, under Section 27 1 (b), provides that all South Africans have the right to sufficient water, but some areas in the Metro have now been without running water for more than a week.

We have written to the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) and requested an immediate investigation into the matter.

Furthermore, I also instructed DA NMB Cllr Morne Steyn to write to the Speaker of Council, Cllr Buyelwa Mafaya, to request that she calls an emergency meeting of the Municipal Public Accounts Committee (MPAC) to discuss various aspects of the water crisis.

The letter was sent to the Speaker’s office yesterday, and we have requested the meeting be called within 48 hours of receipt thereof.

MPAC is charged with oversight of the Municipality’s various Standing Committees and must, therefore, meet to urgently address the following issues:

  • thousands of unattended water leaks;
  • loadshedding to pump stations supplying reservoirs;
  • lack of sufficient water tankers and the substandard quality of the water provided by water tankers;
  • lack of sufficient water treatment chemicals.

It is clear that the ANC-led Coalition of Corruption government and the inept Mayoral Committee Member for Infrastructure and Engineering, Cllr Mongameli Bobani, has no idea how to address the water challenges facing Nelson Mandela Bay.

Since March this year the DA has been calling for water engineers to be seconded to the Metro by the Department of Water and Sanitation, but to no avail.

The Metro has blamed the water interruptions on excessive consumption, of 290 megalitres, which exceeds the available 250 megalitres.

The administration tries to lay the blame on the residents of the Metro, and avoid accountability, for the outright failures of the ANC-led Coalition of Corruption to deal with the water crisis.

Expired contracts in the Metro – such as the contracts for water treatment chemicals and the purchase, installation and maintenance of water meters – have deepened the water crisis.

The Metro is hiding behind a so called Day Zero, although there is no Day Zero. We have water in our dams and water from the Nooitgedacht Low Level Water Scheme.

This inept government is not able to manage the water – we have reached Day Incompetence and nothing more.

Other contracts that have not been renewed, which are contributing to the City being dirty, unsafe and unable to function at an administrative level, include:

Corporate Services:

  • Printer cartridges;
  • GIS licences;
  • The maintenance of fibre (resulting in officials not having access to emails or the internet for months on end).

Electricity and Energy:

  • Street light refurbishment;
  • Switchgear maintenance;
  • Supply of secondary switchgear;
  • Replace switchgear in mini-subs;
  • Street light poles (concrete, steel and fibreglass);
  • Installation of steel light furniture, cable-laying and maintenance;
  • Supply and installation of 20m, 30m and 40m steel floodlights;
  • Low voltage reticulation improvement;
  • Electrification of subsidised houses;
  • Meters and current transformers;
  • Cable replacement (6.6kV);
  • Overhead lines replacement;
  • Refurbishment of power transformers.

Infrastructure and Engineering (Water and Sanitation):

  • Fencing;
  • Grass cutting;
  • Bush clearing;
  • Catchment and alien vegetation control.

Infrastructure and Engineering (Support Services):

  • Fuel;
  • Servicing/Tyres

Infrastructure and Engineering (Transport):

  • Asphalt;
  • Road maintenance

Safety and Security:

  • Alarm installation, maintenance, monitoring and response
  • CCTV cameras

The DA will now write to the Eastern Cape MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), Xolile Nqatha, and the Minister of CoGTA, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, to urgently intervene and request immediate feedback on why the Metro has allowed contracts to expire.

The DA continues to fight to save the lives and livelihoods of the people of Nelson Mandela Bay. We can fix this mess – we have done it before, and we can do it again.