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34 days and counting for eThekwini's sewage woes

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34 days and counting for eThekwini's sewage woes

19th May 2022

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/ MEDIA STATEMENT / The content on this page is not written by Polity.org.za, but is supplied by third parties. This content does not constitute news reporting by Polity.org.za.

The DA in eThekwini has laid a formal complaint with the National Department of Water and Sanitation over eThekwini's unacceptable handling of the municipality's wastewater networks that were damaged in the April floods.

It has taken the eThekwini Municipality 34 days to get the first contractor on site to repair just one of the city's major wastewater network damages – the broken Northern trunk main in Prince Mhlangana Road, Avoca. The rest of the major faults have not yet been attended to at all, resulting in millions of litres of raw sewage flooding into waterways, rivers, groundwater and the ocean.

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A report on storm damages that appeared before the Executive Committee shows that not a single wastewater treatment works is receiving more than 80% of the intake that it is supposed to. In simple terms, the sewerage system is so devastated that the waste is being lost before it can even be treated. The majority of the municipality's facilities – Mpumalanga, Hammarsdale, KwaNdengezi, North, South, Umhlatuzana and Tongaat- are receiving less than 40% of their usual inflow.

EThekwini's sewerage system is effectively not functioning at all.

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Massive broken trunk mains have seen residential areas flooded with raw waste that is finding its way into the river and the sea. The beaches are once again closed as e.coli levels soared, affecting the environment, the economy and the health and safety of the municipality's residents.

The municipal Water and Sanitation Department does not have a construction branch, meaning that all major works have to be outsourced to contractors. Why has it taken over a month to get just one contractor on site, when this is such a catastrophic crisis? When will the rest of these sites be attended to?

It is only the relentless pressure of the Democratic Alliance, which has included daily contact with senior officials, that has resulted in some kind of basic action. Officials are debating which section of which legislation to use while our rivers and environment are being destroyed and businesses, people and tourism suffers.

There are various laws that are meant to protect our environment and many well-paid people who should have intervened sooner. EThekwini's Water and Sanitation Unit is in a terrible state and urgently needs to be held accountable for this mess.

 

Issued by DA eThekwini Caucus Leader Councillor Nicole Graham

 

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