DA demands answers from infrastructure head as water crisis deepens in eThekwini

EThekwini Municipality head of Human Settlements and Infrastructure Committee Themba Mvubu. Pictures: Theo Jeptha/ African News Agency(ANA)

EThekwini Municipality head of Human Settlements and Infrastructure Committee Themba Mvubu. Pictures: Theo Jeptha/ African News Agency(ANA)

Published Jan 25, 2024


Durban — The DA in eThekwini is demanding answers from the chairperson of the Human Settlement and Infrastructure Committee, EFF councillor Themba Mvubu, about the continuous suffering of residents in Verulam, Phoenix, Ntuzuma, Tongaat, Cornubia and Umhlanga who have been without water for weeks.

The party has written to Mvubu demanding that he emerges from hiding and account for the ongoing water challenges in the affected areas.

In a statement issued by the party’s deputy caucus leader, Billy Mzamo, the DA said these areas had had intolerable water outages since the 2022 April floods when the already aged and compromised water infrastructure was damaged.

The DA said it was disturbing that despite the R1.9 billion National Treasury grant to the eThekwini Municipality to fix the damaged infrastructure, the EFF and ANC-led city government still carelessly failed to timeously fix the compromised water infrastructure. The party said this sadly resulted in a portion of the funds being taken back by the national government which it said was an indictment of leadership who in their failure to monitor this could have ensured that such a crisis was avoided.

Mzamo said consequently, in the past 6 months, the water outages had become worse, reaching unacceptable levels which resulted in affected communities being justifiably angry and taking to the streets as even elected councillors were not getting any answers from City bosses, officials, the EFF and Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda.

Mzamo said: “DA councillors continue to work tirelessly under extremely difficult circumstances in these areas to try and hold those in power accountable. If the EFF was serious about fixing this crisis, then Mvubu would have to admit that by allowing this crisis to go on he is not fulfilling his responsibility and failing to oversee the provision of services to communities as required by law.

“By now he should have lobbied the mayor and other executive committee members to meet urgently and get a report on this crisis.”

The party said the Municipal Structures Act allowed Mvubu to write to the mayor as the chairperson of Exco to convene an urgent meeting, provided that the majority of the members agreed but had not even attempted to do this as it was business as usual for him..

To make matters worse, the party said Mvubu failed to attend the first ordinary Executive Committee meeting on Wednesday.

The DA stated that the EFF could no longer ignore the anger of communities who continued to be deprived of water and Mvubu should now come out of hiding and tell the residents what the department was doing to provide a stable water supply to the people.

“For him, this is an inescapable responsibility and he must provide needed leadership. The residents no longer want to hear long rhetoric but want to know when this will come to an end.”

Mvubu said the City attributed the delay in restoring water to the terrain and vegetation abutting the bulk Northern Aqueduct line, which was making access to strategic points difficult to carry out tests.

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