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45 billion litres of drinking water lost as NMB’s water infrastructure collapses

NOVEMBER 2, 2015
45 billion litres of drinking water lost as NMB’s water infrastructure collapses

The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality is losing between R480 million and R1.2 billion a year to water leaks, "a massive loss to the people of this Metro at the hands of an uncaring local government," the Democratic Alliance (DA) says.

"We are losing 42,3% of our water because this Metro has not handled a crisis that has been a long time coming, as it has let water pipes and water infrastructure go to rack and ruin," said DA Eastern Cape leader and its Mayoral Candidate for Nelson Mandela Bay in the 2016 Local Government Elections, Athol Trollip.

"Parliamentary replies reveal that in the 2013/2014 municipal cycle, 45 billion litres of NMB drinking water were lost to leaks and burst pipes as our infrastructure is allowed to collapse. See reply here.

"If nothing is done to rescue NMB’s collapsing water infrastructure, no matter what Minister Mokonyane says about 're-looking at water allocation', our taps will run dry soon."

Trollip said that instead of fixing the problem, and instead of upgrading our crumbling water delivery, the Metro wants to deflect its liability and install Smart Metres.

"Yet, today, in the City of Tshwane my colleague Solly Msimanga is laying criminal charges against the Tshwane Mayor and Municipal Manager for the 'Smart Metre' program rolled out in Tshwane plagued by massive corruption and failures of governance. The same cannot be allowed to happen in NMB."

He said that the DA’s plan to address water losses, can be delivered by a DA government in NMB is to immediately:

  • Redraw the municipal budget to vastly increase the infrastructure maintenance and upgrade budget – where the ANC local government is wasting billions on wasteful expenditure in NMB, the DA would make water infrastructure the priority spend out of stopping corrupt spending happening today.
  • We would establish an Anti-Leaks War Room within the Joint Operations Centre (JOC) to improve response time to reported leaks – properly fixing leaks is a start to the solution, but holistic upgrade of water infrastructure would still be our priority.
  • The DA would map out all existing water leaks and make the identification interaction and responsive, tied into the JOC.
  • Establish a dedicated leak repair team – To do this the DA would fill the multitude of vacant plumbing posts within the municipality, which are budgeted for but are negligently unfilled.

"This ANC-run municipality has lost touch with the importance of preserving water – In fact, the ANC government of this Metro has previously cut the water repair and maintenance budget by R123 million. The clearest sign of the failure of NMB to deal with water losses is its cut of the budget, at a time when a budget increase is so desperately needed," Trollip said.

"It is clear that this government is choosing electioneering over its duty to serve the people of this Metro. While Mayor Jordaan gloats about his slashing of the infrastructure maintenance budget and President Zuma holds glitzy 'War on Leaks' events, millions of litres of water are being lost on a daily basis with no plan to stop them.

"The only war that the ANC is interested in is a seeming war against our residents who lose jobs, opportunities and hope."

He said that delivery of basic services must be a priority for a Well-Run City – this will be a non-negotiable for a DA government. 


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