Water and Sanitation Minister, Senzo Mchunu, has stressed the importance of consistent and sustainable water supply and sanitation services in KwaZulu-Natal.
Mchunu was speaking during a ministerial working session with KwaZulu-Natal Midlands Municipalities, held in Ladysmith, on Friday.
During the working session, Mchunu and the Deputy Minister of Water and Sanitation, Dikeledi Magadzi, extensively engaged uMzinyathi, uThukela, and Amajuba District Municipalities with a view to get to grips with the water and sanitation challenges facing communities, and also devising means to address those issues.
The municipalities were accorded an opportunity to provide comprehensive presentations focusing on access of water and sanitation to households, overview of water supply areas, revenue collection, billing systems, non-revenue water, and water tankers servicing rural communities.
The municipalities also made presentations on ongoing bulk water projects, the functionality of water treatment plants, and operations and maintenance, amongst others.
In his address, Mchunu urged municipalities to stop taking pride in providing temporary services, such as delivering water tanks and ventilated improved pit (VIP) toilets, when they should be delivering long-term solutions.
“I would like to state this unequivocally: let us complete all projects that are meant to provide water supply and sanitation services to the people, even those that have been white elephants for as long as 10 years in some instances,” Mchunu said.
The Minister warned municipalities not to invest a lot of money in emergency measures, including boreholes, at the expense of piped water and reticulation.
Echoing Mchunu’s sentiments, the department’s Deputy Director-General of Water Services Management, Risimati Mathye, reiterated that water projects must be completed.
“Non-completion of water infrastructure, such as water treatment works and others, leads to vandalism and theft because in most cases, they are left unattended,” Mathye said.
During a robust deliberation, it emerged that municipalities are encountering similar challenges in their efforts to deliver water to the people. These include vandalism of water infrastructure, illegal connections, dysfunctional water schemes, insufficient operations and maintenance budget and inadequate or unreliable water sources.
Source: South African Government News Agency