Water woes in collapsed Komani

Issued by Jane Cowley, MPL
Enoch Mgijima Constituency Leader

There is plenty of water in the Xonxa dam, but due to maladministration, none of it is flowing out of the taps in Komani (formerly Queenstown).

The water shortages are the direct result of the continued failure of the Chris Hani District Municipality to deliver on their mandate to deliver bulk water supply to the Enoch Mgijima municipality.

As a result, schools have closed, businesses are struggling to keep their doors open and residents battle one another in queues for drinking water. Hospitals and clinics are barely able to function, and germ control is a challenge.

While the province is certainly in the grips of a severe drought, the reality is that there is sufficient water available in the Xonxa dam to circumvent these shortages.

However delays in planning, widespread corruption, inefficient maintenance and a skills deficit have resulted in not one drop of water flowing from the dam. A recent testing phase failed, as flanges on the pumps malfunctioned and now need replacing. This could take weeks.

The Waterdown dam to the south of Whittlesea is only at 30% capacity. However, there would still be sufficient water to supply users for several months if the lowest of the sluice gates had been properly maintained.

When officials tried to open them last week, components of the gates were damaged and repairs will possibly only conclude by the end of the week.

I have reported the crisis to the Deputy Minister of the Department of Water and Sanitation, Hon David Mahlobo to request his intervention. I have also written to the Human Rights Commission to express my disappointment that poor governance and poor management have resulted in the lives and wellbeing of Komani residents being at risk.

Download: Letter to Deputy Minister of Department of Water and Sanitation
Download: Letter to Human Rights Commission

If immediate steps are not taken to address this crisis, lives may be lost, and jobs certainly will be lost as industry cannot continue without water.

Enough is enough. This continued failure to deliver basic services to ordinary, honest South Africans who pay their rates has gone far enough.

In DA-led municipalities, service delivery is prioritized and the rights of citizens, particularly the right to a regular supply of clean water, are protected at all costs. It is time to get Komani back on track. It is time for clean governance that provides all basic services to residents. It is time for the DA to lead Komani to a better future!