eThekwini Municipality silent on new water 'support team’ salaries

The eThekwini Municipality has assigned a new team to bring order and solutions to the city’s troubled water unit in hopes of achieving speedy service delivery. Picture: Supplied

The eThekwini Municipality has assigned a new team to bring order and solutions to the city’s troubled water unit in hopes of achieving speedy service delivery. Picture: Supplied

Published Dec 15, 2023


The eThekwini Municipality did not want to spill the beans on how much it intends on paying the three new staff members hired to clean up the troubled Water and Sanitation Unit, which has seen its share of ups and downs in 2023.

Compounded by the pressure after the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) released its KwaZulu-Natal Water inquiry report, which indicated that the City had violated the rights of certain residents by not providing access to clean drinking water, eThekwini is now on its heels, trying to restore balance to the unit.

But it wasn’t too forthcoming with some of the major details, like how much taxpayers would have to fork out for the three new executives to come up with solutions.

The municipality announced this week that a new “crack team” was going to work on bringing solutions and increased service delivery to the unit, who would be employed for a 12-month period.

IOL asked eThekwini at what cost the team would come.

“eThekwini Municipality does not discuss employer-employee contractual matters with third parties,” spokesperson Gugu Sisilana responded.

IOL also asked if the salaries of these new executives would fall within the R1 billion proposed budget to fix the water infrastructure in the city.

But the municipality gave the same response to a legitimate question from the media.

We did seek clarity, given that the salaries of premiers and mayors are public knowledge.

The addition of the three new former municipal managers, namely Sibusiso Sithole, Nandi Dlamini, and Maxwell Pawandiwa, could effectively help restore some sense of normalcy and functionality to the Water and Sanitation Unit.

Authorities in charge of water have also embarked on an extensive programme targeting various infrastructure projects, both from a development and flood damage repair perspective.

These include projects for the main northern aqueduct, which is a huge pipe that delivers raw water to the Durban Heights Water Treatment Works plant.

The municipality also said it is exploring ways to desalinate water (turning seawater into drinking water) and a water recycling project for industries to free up potable water.

The construction of the uMkhomazi Dam is also a project on the cards to ensure sufficient water supply to the eThekwini region, which has a population of just over four million, according to the latest data on the municipal website.

Besides the projects, the Water and Sanitation Unit has also suffered its fair share of controversy after two employees were gunned down.

In September, Khumbulani Khumalo was shot dead while seated inside a state vehicle in Inanda, north of Durban.

At the start of November, Emmanuel Ntuli was shot three times in the head and stabbed in front of his wife and children at his home in Mandeni on KwaZulu-Natal’s North Coast.

Mthunzi Gumede, the acting deputy head of the unit’s support services, resigned on November 6, three days after his colleague, Ntuli, was killed, the Sunday Tribune reported.

Sisilana did not tell the Sunday Tribune how many City employees were killed.

“Crime statistics in relation to murder cases are released by the South African Police Service (SAPS).

“Case dockets relating to dates, places, and incidents of murder are kept and recorded by the South African Police Service as part of their investigation into any murder case and/or criminal incidents,” Sisilana was quoted saying in the Sunday Tribune.