NMB Water Crisis: DA requests emergency meeting in Bhisho to discuss ‘crumbling infrastructure’

The crumbling infrastructure in Nelson Mandela Bay, which led to this weekend’s water shortages, shows negligence on the part of the municipality and cannot be left unchallenged, the Democratic Alliance said in a statement this morning.

“Unless adequate funding is found to maintain infrastructure, similar incidents will occur again,” said DA shadow MEC for local government, Dacre Haddon.

“I have written to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Local Government to convene an urgent meeting to explain the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro water crises,” he said.

Haddon said he had requested the Chairperson, Xolile Nqatha, to call the Executive Director of Infrastructure and Engineering and his associated staff who deal with water issues to report to the committee and explain what happened to cause this incident.

“I have also requested that the committee consider establishing a board of enquiry to investigate this matter, to take corrective action and to ensure this embarrassing situation never occurs again in the Metro.  If it is found that there has been negligence in the water department in the municipality, then heads must roll and officials sacked,” he said.

Haddon said the stoppage of water to many areas of the Metro due to the bursting of feeder pipes from the dams was shocking.

“Why did this happen? Was sufficient warning not given to the Engineering Directorate of the possibility of such a crisis happening in the future from previous floods? Why could this crisis not have been averted?”

Haddon said the water crisis would have a knock-on effect on continued economic development in Nelson Mandela Bay, seriously affecting growth and job creation due to a lack of confidence in the city’s infrastructure.

“Of further concern are the possible legal ramifications the municipality may face as companies sue for lost production due to lack of water services,” he said.

“The residents and businesses of Nelson Mandela Bay demand answers on this matter and the municipality must come clean with the public.”

“It is hoped that the establishment of a suitable investigative body will ensure that this unfortunate incident is quickly remedied and appropriate action is taken to ensure that there is never a repeat of such a water crisis again in this Metro,” said Haddon.