Durban — The City of eThekwini Municipality Mayor, Councillor Mxolisi Kaunda, has issued an apology to residents of uMhlanga and surrounding areas for the water outages they experienced last week due to tampering of the City’s infrastructure.
Kaunda said the City’s technical teams worked diligently to resolve the water challenges, and water supply had been restored in these areas.
Kaunda stressed that as a proactive and preventative measure, City teams would be installing pressure gauges at strategic points on the bulk aqueduct pipeline. These would be linked up to the telemetry system to monitor reservoir levels.
Kaunda was addressing the media, on the outcomes of a full council sitting on Monday at the Durban City Hall.
Kaunda said the City was continually resolving water challenges, especially in the rural areas.
He said, in areas where there is inadequate water infrastructure, the municipality has prioritised funding for the drilling of boreholes. City teams have started drilling boreholes in the following areas:
- Ward 3 in Umzinyathi
- Ward 105 in Mfume
- Ward 59 oGunjini
- Ward 108 eNyoni and the Mkhumbane area.
Kaunda said he was glad that the City’s collection rate sat at 100.72% from 92.3% in July.
“These are all positive trends which auger well for the financial viability and sustainability of the City,” Kaunda stated.
The City approved a three month debt relief programme, starting on Tuesday, for all customers who are in arrears for more than 90 days, he said.
“The debt relief programme is subject to customers not falling into arrears for a 12-month period, after settling the outstanding amounts.
“There will be a re-instatement of interest and or capital in the event of default on the payment arrangement.
“This is a concerted effort for the municipality to assist cash-strapped customers and non-profit organisations, including old age homes, crèches and businesses,” Kaunda said.
He also commended the City for being able to attract thousands of holidaymakers to eThekwini over the Heritage long weekend, adding that when the visitors arrived, they found most of the City’s beaches safe for swimming.
For the Heritage long weekend alone, the municipality was able to achieve a 62% hotel occupancy, he said.
“The direct spend expected was R120 million, with an injection of R300 million to the GDP and a contribution of 1 300 jobs,” Kaunda stated.
The highest number of visitors were from Gauteng, he said, and others from African countries, and some from Europe.
Most of these tourists were in town to attend the Durban Business Fair and the Durban Fashion Fair, he said.
The City was expecting to have another bumper weekend on October 7, as it would be hosting the MTN 8 soccer final at the iconic Moses Mabhida Stadium, he said.
“This demonstrates that Durban is open for business and people still believe in our ability to host major sporting events,” Kaunda stressed.
Just a week ago, Durban had been announced as the 2025 host of the World Water Conference, he said.
Again in 2025, the City would be welcoming international visitors to the World Eco-Summit.
In November the City would be hosting the 13th World Congress of The World Society for Paediatric Infectious Diseases, he said.
“Contrary to what our detractors may want you to believe, the world still has confidence in us, and what the city of Durban is capable of,” Kaunda stated.
Around the issue of load shedding, Kaunda said the City was managing its load shedding better.
This was because, when other cities endured four hours of load shedding, eThekwini Municipality had a two hour schedule due to the automation and vastness of the City’s electricity network.
“For instance, if Eskom requires 5 megawatts of power, we are able to provide it while ensuring that our residents and businesses are not adversely affected. The automation also allows us to switch the system on and off in real time, which makes the period of load shedding predictable.”
Kaunda vowed that the City had taken a proactive approach to effectively deal with derelict buildings in eThekwini.
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