OPINION: ‘The people of Ugu district have suffered too long’

DEAR Editor,-

The Democratic Alliance in Ugu District Municipality has written to MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nomusa Dube-Ncube requesting her to place the troubled Ugu district under provincial support and assistance as mandated under Section 154 of the Constitution.

This is after another failure of Ugu District in its mandate of delivering consistent access to water and sanitation services across the district.

For the second consecutive festive season and year, residents and tourists experienced water cuts, water shortages or no water provision.

In January 2016, salt water was pumped into the water reticulation system of the Mzimkhulu pipeline system.

Between December 2016 and January 2017, vast areas of the entire district had limited to no water provision due to an illegal municipal strike, multiple pipe bursts and the inability to balance bulk reservoirs.

According to the figures from Ugu South Coast Tourism, water disruptions in 2016/17 resulted in

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• Direct, indirect and induced impact between R68 to 95 million;

• Some 160 jobs were affected or lost;

• Reputational damage, which is unquantifiable.

In addition, over 2 000 beachgoers had to be treated for gastroenteritis at local area health facilities due to sewage spills into the Ivungu River from the Masinenge RDP housing settlement.

The DA proposes that Ugu district is placed under provincial support and that this intervention should have the following objectives (amongst others):

• Additional funding ring-fenced for water and sanitation infrastructure maintenance and building

• The implementation of a proper infrastructure maintenance plan, aiming to complete urgent maintenance by November 2017 to ensure a problem-free festive season

• The development and implementation of a proper Human Resources management and recruitment plan for engineers, artisans and plumbers.

• A proper and implementable disaster management plan for prolonged periods of water disruptions.

• The urgent environmental clean-up of all river lagoons

The DA will also be applying to the National Minister of Water and Sanitation to have Umgeni Water take over Ugu’s bulk water services.

It is clear that Ugu District officials and political leadership are incapable.

We need the MEC’s urgent intervention in this regard. The residents of Ugu District Municipality are short changed on services they deserve.

They must be provided with reliable water and sanitation services in order to have a quality of life and build economic opportunities.

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The DA will continue to fight for the residents of Ugu District who continue to be unfairly treated.

RISHIGEN VIRANNA MPL

Ugu South Constituency Head

CLLR GEORGE HENDERSON

RNM Ward 19 and Ugu Councillor

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