In a first for the Eastern Cape, the Democratic Alliance (DA) has called on national government to establish a Water Services Committee to take over the management of water supply from the Chris Hani District Municipality (CHDM).
I have written to the Minister of Human Settlement, Water and Sanitation, Lindiwe Sisulu, and called on her to establish this Water Services Committee in terms of Section 51 of the Water Services Act.
The CHDM provides water and sanitation services to six local municipalities namely: Inxuba Yethemba, Enoch Mgijima, Intiska Yethu, Emalahleni, Engcobo, and Sakhisizwe.
Since the beginning of December 2019, there have been almost daily interruptions of the water supply in Cradock in the Inxuba Yethemba Municipality. In certain areas, residents have been left without water for three weeks.
The Intsika Yethu Municipality is plagued with similar problems and severe, extended water interruptions have become an almost daily occurrence in this municipality.
In 2019 in Mcunggo near Cofimvaba villagers were left without water for at least two months after an engine that was used to pump water, broke down and had to be replaced.
Severe water supply interruptions also plagued Komani for months on end while Tarkastad and Middelburg also experienced problems.
There is currently not a single Waste Water Treatment Plant under control of the municipality that is not totally dysfunctional or dealing with serious malfunctions.
This is water crisis is caused by a lack of sufficient capital budget to replace ageing infrastructure or build new infrastructure, a shortage of sufficient human resources to deal with daily supply interruptions and a lack of capacity to deal with emergency situations.
I call upon all residents and civic organizations that have an interest in removing the water and sanitation competency from CHDM to contact me. This may be the start of a groundbreaking legal intervention that could set the tone for similar interventions at other water services authorities.
The DA will not stand by and watch residents suffer due to the collapse of water services in the Eastern Cape.
Retief Odendaal, MPL
EC Midlands Constituency Leader
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