Premier Must Ensure Water Supply for All

Anthony Benadie MPL DA Provincial Leader – Mpumalanga Mpumalanga premier David Mabuza and his administration must take immediate steps to implement the provincial bulk water supply plan in all eight targeted municipalities, to ensure that reliable drinking water is provided to all Mpumalanga residents. During his 2013 State of the Province Address, the premier said that high level memoranda of understanding and service level agreements were concluded between these municipalities (Mbombela, Nkomazi, Chief Albert Luthuli, Mkhondo, Emalahleni, Thembisile Hani and Dr JS Moroka) and the Mpumalanga Economic Growth Agency (MEGA) for bulk water supply, and that construction would commence by mid-April. However, only six of the eight municipalities have so far finalised their agreements, with Mbombela refusing to do so on the premise that MEGA’s poor organisational and track record would cause more harm than good, and in Mkhondo the MOU has not yet been tabled. The delays in the implementation of these projects could have a terrible effect on the lives of thousands of Mpumalanga’s poorest citizens, as the expected water delivery may not reach them within the promised timeframes. At the same time, we are concerned about the organisational capacity of MEGA to deliver on this water provision mandate. These MOU’s are accompanied by massive financial implications for each of these municipalities, with municipalities having had to provide millions of rands in guarantees to MEGA. In its 2012/13 annual report, the Auditor-General gave the entity a disclaimed audit opinion, meaning that no audit opinion could be expressed on the financial statements in their entirety, because the accounting records were not sufficiently completed – a serious indictment of MEGA’s financial and administrative management capacity. While the DA will continue exercising oversight over the implementation of these MOU’s, municipalities could go a long way in ensuring a reliable supply of clean drinking water, by appointing suitably skilled officials to implement municipal water supply programmes.

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