George Mari, MPP
DA KZN Spokesperson on COGTA
The Democratic Alliance welcomes an announcement by the KwaZulu-Natal Co-operative Governance department that almost R1-billion is to be spent on improving water infrastructure in the province.
According to media reports, KZN has been allocated the highest amount of money for the Municipal Water Infrastructure Grant, receiving more than 30% of the national funds.
This additional funding must be spent where it counts. It must be used to prioritise water supply to rural areas of KZN where women and children still walk long distances to fetch water from rivers and springs, often at great danger. The other priority is the provision of bulk services in order to allow housing developments to proceed. There are numerous housing projects that have stalled due to the lack of bulk water. District Municipalities also need to be given increased funding for the construction of dams
The figure of 86 percent of KZN homes which receive water, as quoted by the department, includes those communities still being served through alternative methods such as water from springs, Jo jo tanks, boreholes and standpipes. Wastage at standpipes that constantly leak is a major concern while maintenance of current infrastructure is also lacking, resulting in huge water losses of approximately 45 percent due to leaking pipes.
The department needs to allocate this money wisely. Now that there is more funding available, municipalities need to work towards providing water reticulation to homes, particularly in rural areas, so that some revenue can be generated.