Tackling water challenges high on new eThekwini mayor’s list

New eThekwini mayor Cyril Xaba was sworn in on Wednesday at the Durban ICC. | Doctor Ngcobo/ Independent Newspapers

New eThekwini mayor Cyril Xaba was sworn in on Wednesday at the Durban ICC. | Doctor Ngcobo/ Independent Newspapers

Published Jul 11, 2024


Durban — Tackling the water supply crisis is the number one priority for newly elected eThekwini Municipality mayor Cyril Vusumuzi Xaba.

After many requests for caucuses by various parties, Xaba was elected unopposed as the new eThekwini mayor.

Delivering his acceptance speech, the mayor likened his election to a baptism of fire but vowed to live up to the challenge. He did not mince his words on his unhappiness about the lack of service delivery and promised to crack the whip to hold lazy officials accountable.

Firing his first shot, Xaba said he had received reports earlier this month that some parts of Hillcrest and Clermont Extension had been without water for an extended period and demanded answers from city executives.

“I found it utterly unacceptable. It degrades the quality of life and undermines residents’ basic human rights.”

Xaba would write to the city manager to ask for a detailed report as to why the residents were without water for so long; whether such could have been prevented or at least mitigated; and whether there was negligence on the part of officials, promising a course of action if it was negligence.

He also committed to following up with urgency on other areas that have been without water. The Durban northern areas such as Phoenix, Verulam, Ntuzuma and Tongaat have been hard hit by water challenges. Residents have been up in arms against the City’s failure and had held several protests. The water shortages for longer periods resulted in deaths, which angered the communities further.

“To promote a clean and accountable administration, we commit to continue to work with all institutions such as the Auditor-General, Treasury and the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta).”

Xaba also welcomed the Section 154 intervention by the provincial government. He vowed to review the performance agreements of senior managers to see whether they lived up to their commitments.

Listing his priorities, the mayor promised to tackle water and sanitation infrastructure as well as ensuring uninterrupted water supply, inner-city rejuvenation, strengthening good governance and fighting corruption. He promised to attract investment and promote an inclusive economy that creates jobs.

There would be a meeting next week to engage all support teams to “ensure our work is aligned to adequately respond to service delivery needs”.

Reacting to Xaba’s election, DA leader Thabani Mthethwa, said: “We want to make sure that the mayor and his senior officials are held to account for lack of service delivery and that those elected to serve, serve the interests of the people.”

IFP caucus secretary, Dr Jonathan Annipen, said his party decided to support the ANC’s candidate for mayor despite the apprehensions they have around the ANC’s leadership.

“The City requires stability. The ANC is the party with the biggest majority and thus should be given the opportunity to occupy the office of the mayor.”

The IFP will remain on the opposition benches, he said, and will be the watchdogs for ratepayers, ensuring budgets are spent appropriately, services reach the most vulnerable and that city residents are the beneficiaries of good governance.

eThekwini EFF leader Themba Mvubu said the EFF will remain the only official opposition as all the other parties form part of the GNU.

The EFF can’t form any partnership/ coalition with the DA or FF Plus as they oppose all of the EFF’s policies. Mvubu emphasised that this is their stance at all levels – from national to local.

ActionSA’s Zwakele Mncwango said the party welcomed the newly elected eThekwini mayor and hopes he will faithfully uphold his oath of office and serve the residents of eThekwini with integrity, dedication and transparency.

ActionSA initially nominated the DA’s Thabani Mthethwa, for the mayorship, but he declined, Mncwango said. “This move was part of our ongoing commitment to promote leadership that prioritises the welfare of residents over political manoeuvring.”

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