Water crisis down to a lack of infrastructure maintenance - DA

BY CHARL BOSCH - NOVEMBER 2, 2015

Democratic Alliance (DA) Shadow Minister of Water Affairs and Sanitation, Nosimo Balindlela, has accused Nelson Mandela Bay Executive Mayor Danny Jordaan and Minister Nomvulu Mokanyane of losing control over the escalating water crisis in the Metro.

“It cannot be that the Minister and her department be allowed to see millions of water go to waste without a good reason,” Balindlela, flanked by DA Eastern Cape leader Athol Trollip and War Councillor Francois Greyling, said at the launch of the party’s Well-Run City campaign in Despatch on Monday.

Earlier, RNews accompanied party members on an oversight visit to two overflowing reservoirs outside the town, which is claimed to have been a contributing factor in the wasting of 45-billion litres in Metro drinking water between 2013 and 2014.

“Water losses in Nelson Mandela Bay are the worst of any Metro in the country. Out of every ten litres an estimated 4.2-litres gets lost as a result of leaks and poor maintenance,” Trollip said.

“Our infrastructure is compromised due to government cutting its budget by R123-million. If it was not for the unseasonable rains in Nelson Mandela Bay, we would have been in a water shedding situation”.

In his opening statement, Greyling remarked that the overflowing was mainly due to faulty automatic shut-off valves and a shortage of staff to close them each time the reservoirs filled up.

“In the Despatch Uitenhage cluster, there is a shortage of at least 50 staff members in the plumbing sector. There are only two qualified plumbers and most often they are both busy at the same time,” Greyling said.

“As it stands, there are 613 water leaks in Despatch alone. This is as a result of the reservoirs running dry and the pipes filling up with air. Once the reservoirs are filled and the water turned back on, the supply goes into any cracks that might have formed and cause the pipes to burst”.

He also added that the ongoing leaks had resulted in a number of business closing, and that the reporting of cracks had descended into a “bureaucratic mess”.

In a similar reaction, Trollip stated that the municipality’s proposed installing of water metres, proves that they are “clueless” in how to deal with the crisis.

“These metres won’t rectify the problem. The fault lies within the maintenance of infrastructure. You cannot put meters in if the infrastructure is faulty”.