Municipalities need to priories water provision

The Minister of Water and Sanitation (DWS), Senzo Mchunu and his deputies, David Mahlobo and Dikeledi Magadzi met with local municipalities who are the Water Services Authorities and district municipalities on December 7.

This was part of the Ministerial working session in the province which took place from December 8 to 8. The district and local municipalities were represented by their executive mayors and municipal managers, provincial Cogta and Human Settlement departments. During the engagements with the municipalities, the common challenges identified included lack of maintenance of the water and sanitation infrastructure. Ageing, dilapidated infrastructure, leakages leading to high water losses, vandalism of infrastructure. Mushrooming informal settlements lead to increased water demand, sewer spillages and the issue of the bucket system.

READ | Dipaleseng Municipality experiencing water disruptions due to aged infrastructure

In her inputs, Deputy Minister Magadzi called for the urgent prioritisation of addressing the issue of sewer spillages. She said they may harm water resources and people’s lives. There was emphasis on the importance of teaching people to preserve the rivers and all water sources. There’s a need for collaborations and to work with the private sector. “We can’t do it alone, we must get other people who might walk this journey with us”, she said.

Deputy Minister Mahlobo called on the municipalities to show commitment, plan and budget for water and sanitation projects. The Department cannot be the only funder. The deputy minister also called for the municipalities to stop the illegal selling of water to communities. He called on the municipalities to take action against tampering and vandalising infrastructure and stealing of water.

Minister Mchunu emphasised that there is no water crisis in the country but there are challenges. He called on the three spheres of government not to compromise but deliver on water. Executive Mayors need to prioritise the communities and provide them with water. He also called for sewer spillages to stop and end the bucket system. People cannot be exposed to such an inhumane system.

ALSO READ | Water shortage in Thembisile Hani Local Municipality this weekend

Minister called for the prioritising of stopping the sewer spillages. “We have to register the issue of stopping spillages as one priority. We need a plan. DWS, Cogta district and local municipalities, go and craft a plan, do the sizing up, specify what needs to be done, how much it will cost and how long it will take. All affected municipalities to pledge maximum funds and then the districts and the Department”, he said. He also instructed the stakeholders to present a costed plan with committed funds to deal with the sewer spillages challenge.

Minister Mchunu also called on the municipalities to budget for the replacement of old and aging infrastructure as they are the main causes of water losses and sewer spillages. “We need to stop the leaks leading to water losses. The project called War on Leaks does not exist. You Have to declare your war on leaks in your municipalities. Take this matter seriously and repair pipes”, he said.

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