Durban — Debates surrounding problems associated with the eThekwini Municipality wastewater systems that led to the closure of Durban beaches and polluted rivers yielded no solutions when they were brought before the KwaZulu-Natal legislature on Thursday.
DA MPL Martin Meyer said that even before the April floods, eThekwini had experienced problems with sewage removal and water provision and that 80% of wastewater works in the city were now non-functional.
The DA called on KZN Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube to invoke section 139 of the Constitution following the eThekwini Municipality’s ongoing failure to deal with the metro’s growing sewage crisis.
Section 139 of the Constitution provides that, when a municipality cannot or does not fulfil an executive obligation in terms of the Constitution or legislation, the relevant provincial executive may intervene by taking any appropriate steps to ensure fulfilment of that obligation.
Meyer claimed eThekwini did not come close to spending 8% of its budget on maintenance, as prescribed by the Treasury.
“The question is: Why is this ANCrun provincial government turning a blind eye to eThekwini’s continued failures while peoples’ lives are being endangered?” Meyer asked.
ANC MPL Vusi Dube called the DA’s conduct an attack on eThekwini instead of the party coming up with solutions to the challenges created by the April floods disaster.
Dube said the municipality was addressing the challenges with an overstretched budget.
IFP MPL Mntomuhle Khawula said there should be concern about the state of poor water services, waste management and environmental protection provided in the country as a whole, and not just in eThekwini.
Khawula said the problem was bad management of the available resources, mismanagement and inefficiency, and the greed and corruption of those entrusted to manage resources and deliver services to communities.
“The April floods have made an already struggling water and sanitation unit in eThekwini to be devastating and unbearable,” he added.
NFP leader and MPL Cynthia Shinga said the issue was of serious concern and was escalating into a human rights disaster.
“Lives have been impacted, and the problem is growing worse. The responses by the city’s leadership to the problems indicate a serious lack of political will, experience and funds to fix the eThekwini metro,” she said.
Shinga recommended that the municipality increase resources, oversee its management, audit all work completed, and raise standards of performance.
The Ardagh Glass Packaging World Oceans Day Swim scheduled for this weekend has been cancelled.
The municipality did not respond to the impact this would have on the city’s economy.