DA calls for Parliamentary inquiry into eThekwini water crisis

“If eThekwini collapsed, so would Umngeni-Uthukela, threatening water security to the entire province of KwaZulu-Natal” says DA shadow minister

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Residents of Parkgate near Verulam in Durban say they wait hours with their containers for the municipality’s water truck to arrive. Archive photo: Tsoanelo Sefoloko

It is crucial that Parliament steps in to force the eThekwini Municipality to account for the escalating water crisis in some Durban communities, says DA Shadow Minister of Water and Sanitation, Leon Basson.

This follows recent protests by residents of Parkgate in Verulam and Phoenix to demand better water supply.

On Tuesday, Basson with other DA leaders in Durban met with officials at Umngeni-Uthukela Water to discuss the ongoing water outages in the metro.

“The entity revealed that eThekwini is a growing risk to the water board because it is their single largest customer. If eThekwini collapsed, so would Umngeni-Uthukela, threatening water security to the entire province of KwaZulu-Natal.

“Residents and business owners from Phoenix also expressed their frustration and hopelessness at the water crisis they endure daily. Many of them said they feel let down and forgotten by eThekwini municipality,” said Basson.

At a briefing after the meeting, Basson told the media that they are now calling for a parliamentary inquiry by the Portfolio Committee for Water and Sanitation into the ongoing water crisis in eThekwini.

Basson claimed that the water board supplies eThekwini with “more than enough water” yet many residents were still left without water daily.

Umngeni-Uthukela Water spokesperson, Siyabonga Maphumulo, said the water board confirmed that it has completed a project to increase the capacity of the Hazelmere Water Treatment plant in Verulam from 55 to 75 million litres per day.

“This was at a cost of R135-million and further capacity upgrades are planned over the next three years,” said Maphumulo.

In response to the DA’s briefing, Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda, reiterated the municipality’s plans to fix and maintain water infrastructure to resolve the outages. He said that tests and repairs are underway on the Northern Aqueduct, and water is expected to be restored to the affected communities by 15 February.

TOPICS:  Water

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