No easy road ahead for new Bay council

With a new Nelson Mandela Bay council ushered in today, the leadership of the municipality will be faced with major challenges.

The city has been struggling with basic service delivery issues such as water leaks, illegal electricity connections, housing, sanitation and public transport.

The municipality reported it had lost millions of rands to water and electricity losses this year.

Electricity theft and other technical issues were blamed for the municipality’s shocking R208-million electricity losses between July last year and March .

Water losses between July last year and March stood at R135-million.

In a bid to drastically cut the cost of water waste, the municipality launched a programme last month which saw 300 plumbers sent into various wards to fix leaks.

Another headache to be inherited by the new government is the slow pace of eradicating the bucket toilet system.

Former Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Danny Jordaan said last month they were making strides in getting rid of the buckets, as only 1% of residents still used them.

The DA complained to the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) that the city had not done enough to get rid of bucket toilets in Walmer township.

Yesterday, SAHRC officials were in the city to further investigate what alternative measures had been taken by the municipality to address the issue.

On housing rectification, two years back the municipality reported a backlog of about 39 000 units.

Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said only 5 465 houses needed fixing.

The Integrated Public Transport system is another issue.

More than R2-billion was ploughed into the project.

Jordaan said that by July 1 the buses would be on the road – but this did not happen.

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