Incompetent Amatola Water Board leaves Bay high and dry

Issued by Retief Odendaal, MPL
Shadow MEC for Finance

The Department of Water Affairs (DWA) desperately needs to step in and address the water crisis unfolding in Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB) due to the incompetence of the Amatola Water Board.

Residents of the Metro are facing the very real possibility of dry taps, and while it is the municipality’s responsibility to purify the water and distribute it, this cannot be done if the DWA does ensure that there is water to treat.

The DWA appointed the Amatola Water Board as the implementing agent to complete the third phase of the Nooitgedacht low-level water scheme in NMB, which was supposed to provide an extra 50 million litres of water a day to desperate residents.

Instead, the Amatola Water Board has failed to pay the contractor for work done, totalling R1,9 million, and the contractor has downed tools, left the site and instituted legal work.

NMB is in a race against time to prevent taps from running dry. Despite the recent rains, dams are at a critical 12.1% capacity, and with hot summer weather fast approaching, these water supplies will be even harder pressed.

The failure of the Amatola Water Board to meet its obligations and thus place the most critical water augmentation project for the city currently under construction at risk is unconscionable.

The DWA must take full responsibility for the failure of the inept Amatola Water Board to complete the Nooitgedacht project. The national government has long been aware of the challenges and constraints that the board has experienced over the last couple of years.

Notwithstanding these challenges and constraints, the DWA awarded arguably the most important drought mitigation project in South Africa at the moment to this dysfunctional entity.

Nelson Mandela Bay will run out of water if this project is not completed.

The DA challenges the DWA to take full responsibility, immediately intervene and oversee the finalisation of this project.

The Amatola Water Board has again made it abundantly clear that we cannot allow incompetent ANC deployed cadres to oversee critical infrastructure projects, where the very lives of our city’s citizens are at stake.

Where the DA governs we ensure prompt payment to suppliers because the DA gets things done.