DA in Nelson Mandela Bay wants intervention in metro’s water crisis

The DA in the Nelson Mandela Bay council wants the national Department of Water and Sanitation to intervene in metro’s water crisis.

DA councillor Dries van der Westhuizen has written to the director-general of the department, Sean Phillips, and copied Minister Senzo Mchunu in requesting the secondment of the department’s senior official or an expert to lead the metro’s sub-directorate for water and sanitation until the water crisis has been mitigated.

Van der Westhuizen said a similar communication had been sent to Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs director-general, Avril Williamson, and to Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma requesting for section 154(1) of the constitution, which deals with the support and strengthening of municipalities to manage their own affairs, to be put into use if the secondment is granted.

He said the DA is concerned at the lack of planning or communication and a lack of direction shown by the leadership of the municipality with only 27 days to day zero, when taps in the metro will run dry.

“We are very concerned because we are not hearing of any plans, we are not getting any information of what is going to happen with just days away,” said Van der Westhuizen.

“Another concern is that we don’t have an executive director for the water directorate, it’s been over a year now and we don’t have a political oversight or the MMC [member of the mayoral committee] for that directorate because of the fights among the Northern Alliance. So, we thought it is prudent to ask for outside assistance from the national government.”

The Northern Alliance councillor, John Mitchell, took over the infrastructure and engineering portfolio but the party members are at loggerheads with one another in an attempt to recall and replace each other from the council.

Van der Westhuizen said an official that was seconded by the National Treasury to advise had been recalled because the official’s input or advice was not being utilised.

He said: “Maybe the city has a plan, but our problem is that we don’t know what it is and nobody is talking about it with so very few days left.”

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