Residents suffer as ANC holds the purse strings

Issued by Retief Odendaal, MPL
Shadow MEC for Finance

The residents of Nelson Mandela Bay have been left to fend for themselves during the most debilitating drought on record, as the ANC-led national government has refused to accept its drought disaster application.

Without a drought disaster area declaration much needed funding, for critical drought mitigation projects that would ensure residents have access to water, cannot be obtained and the projects cannot be completed.

When it suits the ANC, billions of rands are made available in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, to be looted at will by its cadres, but when funding is needed to ensure the people of this province have water to drink tomorrow, they decline the application.

This is not a crisis of convenience for the ANC. They know that funds released into the care of the Democratic Alliance and its Coalition of Good Governance partners cannot be easily looted, so their reluctance to declare a disaster area and release funding is understandable.

Both Nelson Mandela Bay and the Sarah Baartman District municipality are in crisis. The Kouga dam has less than 1% of usable water left available and is expected to run dry by the end of this month. When this happens, tens of thousands of residents could potentially be left without water.

The Churchill and Impofu dams are expected to follow suit next month, putting tens of thousands more at risk.

In the last six months, since the Democratic Alliance and its coalition partners took control of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, everything possible has been done to mitigate the impending disaster.

Water tariffs have been increased and every cent available has been reallocated to deal with water losses. Critical infrastructure projects have been prioritised. The bulk waterline to connect KwaNobuhle to the Nooitgedacht Scheme has been accelerated. Water stands and tanks have been set up in Kwanobuhle. Boreholes are being drilled and an agreement has been entered into with the Coega Development Corporation for a desalinisation plant.

What more do they want the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality to do?

The DA will not be deterred. Together with our coalition partners and the residents of Nelson Mandela Bay, we will remain resilient. We will continue to fight for additional funding and will do everything in our power to keep the water flowing to the taps of Nelson Mandela Bay.