By Hendrik Schmidt MP, Constituency Leader: Emfuleni South:
Today, the Democratic Alliance lead a march to protest against poor service delivery in the Emfuleni Local Municipality. In particular, the DA and Emfuleni residents protested against the high percentage of water being lost in the municipality on a daily basis, especially at a time when the country is experience its worst drought in 23 years.
According to a report released by the Auditor-General, the Emfuleni Local Municipality lost just over 31 million kilolitres of water during the 2013/14 financial year, which resulted in a loss of R175 million. This also represents a 34.1% loss of the total water purchased by the municipality during that year.
This loss is also equal to 12.6 million water tanks, with a capacity of 2500 litres each, being wasted.
To make matters worse, it is estimated that the municipality lost the same amount of water in 2014/15 and this trend will continue during the current financial year.
This water could have been used by people, many living in poorer communities in the area, for drinking and other day-to day uses. It is unacceptable that the Emfuleni municipality has let it go to waste.
Once of the main reasons for these high water losses is because the municipality has failed to maintain and upgrade critical water infrastructure over the past few years.
Council reports reveal that there is a:
- 6 billion storm water infrastructure backlog;
- R723 million backlog when it comes to the maintenance of waste water treatment plants; and
- 1 billion sanitation backlog.
This is over and above R4.2 billion that is required to address the road maintenance backlog in the municipality.
It is clear that the Emfuleni municipality is in a financial crisis, which is affecting its ability to deliver the most basic of services to residents. It’s liabilities exceed its assets and if it was a private company it would have been forced to close to its doors a while ago.
It is critical that the current mess in Emfuleni is addressed and more importantly, that the criminal wastage of water is stopped.
The DA has therefore submitted a memorandum to Municipal Manager Sam Shabalala demanding that the Emfuleni municipality immediately implements an action plan to upgrade and maintain aging water infrastructure and ensure any water and sewage leaks are fixed as soon as they are detected.
The DA is committed to ensuring that where we govern, all residents have access to water, which is their basic right.
When the DA won the City of Cape Town from the ANC in 2006, one of the most important tasks was fixing the badly maintained water infrastructure. Today after 9 years of DA government the Western Cape has the lowest amount of water leaks in the country, at 16.4%.
The DA is committed to bringing change to Emfuleni. Change that stops corruption and ensures public money is spent on service delivery.
We therefore encourage residents to register for the upcoming local elections and to vote the ANC out of Emfuleni in 2016.