Opposition parties in eThekwini blame ANC for water supply crisis

The office of the Auditor-General has flagged the city for losing about 52% of its freshwater annually through leaks and burst pipes.

FILE: The eThekwini Municipality said load shedding had severely hampered its ability to provide an uninterrupted water supply. Picture: 123rf.com

DURBAN - Opposition political parties in the eThekwini Metro have on Friday blamed the collapse of the city’s water infrastructure on the lack of political will by the African National Congress (ANC) to ensure maintenance of public resources.

The office of the Auditor-General has flagged the city for losing about 52% of its fresh water annually through leaks and burst pipes.

At the same time, thousands of residents have become accustomed to regular water cuts with the situation appearing to worsen in the past few weeks as frustrated residents have taken to the streets and launched public demonstrations in various parts of the metro.

The eThekwini Municipality said load shedding had severely hampered its ability to provide an uninterrupted water supply.

But opposition parties say failure to provide services had more to do with years of neglect and poor investment in maintenance of water infrastructure.

The Inkatha Freedom Party’s Jane Naidoo said: “We have the burst pipes, infrastructure collapse all across the municipal boundaries.”

The Democratic Alliance’s Mzamo Billy said the city had reached a level where it could not sustain a stable supply of water.

“The upgrade of infrastructure is costing the city billions and it’s not something that you can wake up one day and start doing, it’s going to lead to a massive crisis that the city has never seen before."

The municipality’s head of water and sanitation Ednick Msweli said while his department needed R12 billion to attend to the immediate challenges impeding water supply, annual budget allocations had averaged between R300 million and R400 million in the past few years.

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