City of Johannesburg Mayor Kabelo Gwamanda has hit back at Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu for accusing him of not being hands-on, as the City grapples with water-related issues.
Between August and September, Rand Water experienced numerous challenges in its bulk water supply infrastructure, affecting residents in multiple municipalities.
On September 19 Rand Water’s Zuikerbosch Water Purification Plant powerlines were affected by a severe thunderstorm.
The Eikenhof system which supplies Soweto, Randburg and Roodepoort also experienced low water pressure to no water supply for days.
Last week, Mchunu met with residents and leaders in the affected municipalities. When he held a meeting with City of Johannesburg residents, he made a point of stating that the mayor was nowhere to be found.
Gwamanda was in attendance at the renaming of William Nicol Drive to Winnie Mandela Drive at the time of the meeting.
In a statement, Gwamanda said attending the meetings may hold primacy for Mchunu but the City has been focusing on corrective actions to make sure that residents and affected hospitals have constant supply of water tankers.
“Those solutions were are implementing are on the ground and not in meetings and boardrooms,” Gwamanda responded.
He went on to say that it was the Minister’s responsibility to supply bulk water and that the recent disruptions to supply show a “monumental incapacity” on the part of Mchunu to carry out his responsibilities.
“He should be best advised to urgently attend to matters within his areas of responsibility and to avoid creating dramatic smokescreens to shield the incompetence of his officials and entities,” the mayor stated.
He said as the President appointed Ministers to deal with various sectors, he had appointed the Water and Sanitation MMC to oversee water issues.
He explained that the City of Johannesburg was also investing in infrastructure and water management systems to improve supply, storage and efficiency following the bulk water supply issues.
Rand Water says it will implement 'water shifting' as a management tool to balance its strained systems in Gauteng, following Mchunu’s directive.
Gwamanda has said that while the system remains constrained across the City, “our systems are monitoring the recovery closely and are noting considerable improvements in the recovery of reservoir storage capacity. Reservoir levels are improving slightly in the majority of areas, however, the City urges residents to comply with the water restrictions and to minimise water use”.