Fix eThekwini water ills or have licence revoked, DA warns City

SA Human Rights Commission official Pavershree Padayachee and Francois Rodgers - DA KZN Provincial Leader. Picture: Supplied.

SA Human Rights Commission official Pavershree Padayachee and Francois Rodgers - DA KZN Provincial Leader. Picture: Supplied.

Published Feb 5, 2024


Durban — The DA in KwaZulu-Natal has threatened to go to court to revoke eThekwini Municipality’s licence to supply water if it does not restore water in the northern areas of the City immediately.

This was revealed by DA KZN provincial leader Francois Rodgers during a march to the offices of the SA Human Rights Commission on Friday.

Rodgers led a group of councillors in handing over a memorandum to the SAHRC. This to demand that the human rights body pile pressure on eThekwini Municipality leadership to address the water challenges that have besieged the northern areas.

Rodgers said the party was exploring the legal route because it was clear that the municipality had no capacity to fix the persistent water challenges, therefore the licence should be cancelled and be given to the service provider.

“This is clear human rights violation. The City is obliged to provide water to the people. If it cannot do so, why should it keep a licence whereas it is failing to meet its obligations,” said Rodgers.

SAHRC official Pavershree Padayachee, who accepted memorandum, said it was agreed that the commission would be directly involved in the measures to solve the problem.

It has various remedies to hold the City accountable and if all fails the commission will take action which will ensure that the City was obliged to fulfil its mandate, she said.

Rodgers said one of the measures would be to take the licence away from the City. Rodgers added that the party was also awaiting a response from the national government about its call that eThekwini water supply should be taken over by an independent body, like the uMngeni-uThukela Water Board.

Currently, the water body is supplying bulk water to the city which the municipality reticulates.

The party met the water body last week and said it had agreed to take over as water supplier for eThekwini if asked to do so through the relevant legislative framework. Rodgers also said that in their meeting with the water body, it had emerged that eThekwini was being oversupplied with water, so it was a lie that the water challenges were being caused by the shortage of water from uMngeni-uThukela Water.

He said the problem was with eThekwini, which was failing to curb water losses of R144 million, which the City could not account for.

The DA also revealed that uMngeni-uThukela Water expressed concern that eThekwini was a growing risk to the water board because it was the single largest customer they had. Therefore, if the city collapsed, so would uMngeni-uThukela, threatening KwaZulu-Natal’s water security.

uMngeni-uThukela Water has already taken over the maintenance of water works stations in the city and was working jointly with the municipality to rebuild the water infrastructure that was damaged by floods.

On Sunday, Rodgers was conducting a voter registration drive in Ugu District Municipality, another municipality that was currently struggling to provide water to residents.

Rodgers said he was encouraged by the turnout the party had received in the areas of Uvongo and Margate which showed that people were tired of the government’s unfulfilled promises.

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