OPINION

Minister must urgently intervene in water and electricity cuts – Kevin Mileham

DA MP seeks assurance from Des van Rooyen that there will be no cuts until recommendations have been made

Minister Van Rooyen must urgently intervene in the water and electricity cuts

15 December 2017

With the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on water and electricity due to table its full report on findings and recommendations into the 30 defaulting municipalities today, the DA sincerely doubts that they will be able to do so.

The DA will therefore write to the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (and Chairperson of the IMC), Des van Rooyen, to request that he commits to intervening in the water and electricity cuts to defaulting municipalities by no later than Friday next week.

The DA will further seek assurance from Minister van Rooyen that there will be no water and electricity cuts, until such time as the findings and recommendations of the full report have been made, and bold remedial action taken.

It is unfair that innocent citizens, who pay their municipal bills every month, be subjected to such harsh measures as a result of the failure of their municipalities.

With regards to the water debt, 25 municipalities have been in contact with the Department of Water and Sanitation. The remaining 5 face possible water throttling. These include: Msukaligwa Local Municipality; Madibeng Local Municipality; Maluti A Phofung Local Municipality; Matjabeng Local Municipality; and Ngaka Modiri Molema Local Municipality.

In terms of the electricity debt, the Thaba Chweu Municipality in Mpumalanga and Walter Sisulu Municipality in the Eastern Cape are currently experiencing interruptions. Interruptions at Mbombela have been averted as they have made payment arrangements with the Department of Water and Sanitation. The  Emalahleni Municipality matter is now before the High Court in Pretoria, and is likely only to be heard early in the New Year. A number of other municipalities remain at risk of throttling if their debt to the electricity utility is not adequately addressed.

With December currently upon us, it is disheartening to see that residents and businesses could potentially face a dark and water-deprived festive season.

The dire situation of these defaulting municipalities points towards a lack of political will and effective leadership in the ANC to truly govern in the best interests of South African citizens.

The governing party is clearly incapable of fixing the systemic failures over which it has presided and in fact worsened. It has failed to properly manage the assets of the nation.

The DA expects a swift and detailed response from Minister van Rooyen, by no later than Friday next week, committing to intervening in the water and electricity cuts.

Issued by Kevin Mileham, DA Shadow Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, 15 December 2017