Three taps for 2000 Missionvale people

THE catastrophic water crisis that unfolded in Madibeng, North West province last week is not unique to that municipality. The ANC-led Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality has its own examples of poor service delivery of water to our communities.

Collapsing infrastructure and a lack of ongoing maintenance in Madibeng and Nelson Mandela Bay is a consequence of poor management under the ANC’s policy of cadre deployment.

In Missionvale there are currently only three taps servicing more than 2000 residents. Every day hundreds of residents queue for hours waiting to fill their containers.

Three working taps are not only leaking, but residents are compelled to take their own pipes to lead water from the taps into their containers. The remaining taps are all out of order.

After inspection it was found that the taps were either damaged by contractors or vandalised. I have lodged numerous complaints to both the call centre and the official in the infrastructure and engineering directorate, to no avail.

The auditor-general’s report to be tabled before the council today highlights a R4-billion infrastructure maintenance backlog and more than R200-million in water losses in the 2012-13 financial year. What hope do our communities have under such disgraceful mismanagement?

The DA-led City of Cape Town’s poor communities are widely recognised. In 2010, the national government’s Universal Household Access to Basic Services or UHABS index found that Cape Town delivered more basic services to the poor than any other metropolitan municipality in the country.

The UHABS study found 94% of poor household in Cape Town had access to electricity, 98% had access to refuse removal and 100% had access to water. This is what the residents of Nelson Mandela Bay deserve.

The water delivery failure in Nelson Mandela Bay is a humanitarian crisis. The South African constitution defines access to clean water as a basic right.

I will now be submitting this critical issue to the municipal public accounts committee for further investigation so that non-responsive officials can be held accountable.

Penny Naidoo, DA Ward 31 councillor, Nelson Mandela Metro