Coast KZN

07 Jun 2015

No emergency water measures in uMkhanyakude

Tamlyn Jolly (Zululand Observer)

While boreholes along the Mfolozi River were recommissioned last year, the highest yielding one is unusable as it was never connected to an electricity supply.

While back up boreholes were recommissioned last year, to be used as emergency water measures, the largest yielding one was never connected to an electricity supply, rendering it useless as an emergency measure.

Despite millions of rands worth of emergency measures, in the form of recommissioning boreholes along the Mfolozi River, undertaken last year, the Mtubatuba waterworks has ground to a halt, leaving residents of the greater area without running water for over a week.

‘The river is dry,’ is the answer residents querying the situation have received. A dry Mfolozi River during low rainfall months is to be expected and leads to water shortages, or outages, from KwaMsane to Cape Vidal and everywhere in between, every year.

This begs the question why backup boreholes and other emergency measures appear not to be taken seriously.

Charles Zwane, CEO of WSSA, the company contracted by uMkhanyakude District Municipality to supply the district with water, has been consistently unavailable for comment.

However, well placed sources have reported the boreholes are either of insufficient supply or, as in the case of the largest yielding borehole, were not connected to an electricity supply when recommissioned, rendering them useless as a backup water source.

uMkhanyakude District Municipality never issued an order number for said electrical work last year and when the rains came, it was deemed unnecessary.

Last Wednesday Mdu Dlamini, Spokesperson for uMkhanyakude District Municipality, said an excavator was digging in the river for water. This, however, was not the case.

Another well placed source suggested the district municipality is insolvent and unable to foot the bill for an excavator.

Those interested in rectifying the water situation, like the St Lucia Ratepayers Association, are dealing directly with the Department of Water and Sanitation in Durban.

uMkhanyakude District Municipality allegedly owes WSSA over R50-million, R20-million of which is for work outside the company’s contractual obligations. Zwane, however, was not available to confirm this and Dlamini stated the municipality’s arrears are ‘not that high’.


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