DA urges speedier water relief: Daily Dispatch

DESPITE millions being made available for water provision in Amathole District Municipality its residents are still without water, the DA complained in the Bhisho legislature.

In a document seen by the Dispatch, the Eastern Cape treasury has allocated close to R300-million in a water services infrastructure grant to the ADM over three financial years.

But the DA is not happy, saying residents in the drought-stricken district have seen little to show for it.

In a question-and-response session in the Bhisho legislature, the DA’s Veliswa Mvenya said despite promises by premier Phumulo Masualle, and confirmation from finance MEC Sakhumzi Somyo that R119-million – the first tranche of a water services infrastructure grant – had been transferred to ADM in full, there was still no evidence of any relief measures being implemented.

“There has been no drilling for additional boreholes and no attempt to de-silt dams. I will continue to fight for drought relief measures to be implemented in the ADM,” said Mvenya.

Last month, because of the drought, the ADM warned Adelaide and Bedford residents of water supply interruptions because of very low levels in the Dorps Dam supplying Adelaide and the Andrew Turpin Dam supplying Bedford.

The municipality said water was being pumped from the Fish River supply scheme as an alternative.

Somyo told Mvenya there was no specific allocation for disaster relief in ADM in 2016-17 and 2017-18 as it has not been officially declared a disaster area. “However there are conditional grant amounts of R119million, R90-million and R95-million for the 2016-17, 2017-18 to 2018-19 financial years respectively that have been allocated to the municipality as part of the water services infrastructure grant.

“One of the conditions of the grant is that funds may be used for drought relief interventions subject to approval by the department of water and sanitation,” said Somyo.

Somyo said ADM had declared itself a disaster area due to drought. “But this needed to be approved by the Exco of the province. The cooperative governance department is in the process of submitting an application to have ADM officially declared a drought disaster area.”

Amathole, as the water authority for municipalities under its jurisdiction, has been struggling to provide a decent water supply to some of them. — bonganif@dispatch.co.za