The water crisis in the province is as a result of lack of planning by the Provincial Department of Local Government.

The MEC for Local Government, Sicelo Gqobana, has been grossly negligent in not acting faster to alleviate our drought and water crises in time.

Despite the drought now two years in duration, emergency measures to conserve water have been pitiful.

In terms of the Water Services Act 108 of 1997 section 13, every municipality in the province must develop a Water Services Development Plan and include plans to maintain water infrastructure while in section J) the plan must contain plans for water conservation and recycling.

The MEC must obtain these reports and monitor these plans.

With 70% of Mthatha water lost through leaks and 37% of water in the Nelson Mandela Metro lost in the same way clearly maintenance of water infrastructure is a huge priority.

Furthermore, with only two municipalities having water engineers (Amathole 3) and (Metro 2) water management in the province is at crises levels.

Due to the inaction of local government to intervene in this matter with appropriate conservation measures, the Metro only started interventions in March — two years after the onset of the drought.

As part of crises management by the Metro, plans to install a desalination plant costing in excess of R600 million have been agreed to.

However, with production costs in excess of R8.40per k/l to recycle this water and a whopping 22% electricity tariff increase set for July, the citizens of the Metro are being forced to pay for these costs due to the ineptitude of the department.

The Democratic Alliance will during the Local Government budget vote in the Provincial Legislature today be asking the MEC for Local Government about his failure to timeously intervene in this crisis.

In addition, the DA will be proposing cost effective solutions to manage this crises by suggesting that Petitions from communities assist the department in identifying and immediately repairing faulty water infrastructure.

Furthermore, in terms of the Preamble to chapter 8 of the National Water Act, the DA will be asking for the establishment of Water User Associations that will assist and empower communities to conserve water and for immediate employment of the minimum requirement of Water Engineers in every municipality.

For further information, please contact Dacre Haddon, MPL on 079 694 3788

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