Parliament seeks urgent action to fix sanitation in eThekwini

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

The Ad Hoc Joint Committee on Flood Disaster Relief and Recovery has asked officials in eThekwini Municipality to provide it with a definite deadline by when repairs at the Tongaat Water Treatment Plant will be completed.

The committee is currently in KwaZulu-Natal on a three-day oversight visit to assess, among other things, progress in the interventions made by the provincial government and municipalities, especially in the areas that were severely affected by the April floods.

The committee raised the issue of water and sanitation, which remains a crisis point in the city, as noted in media reports about the state of the city’s rivers.

“The committee further noted that approximately 80% of the city’s sewer plants are dysfunctional, resulting in large volumes of untreated sewer flowing into rivers and oceans.

“The committee wants the city to provide it with a definite deadline by when repairs at the Tongaat Water Treatment Plant will be completed.

“The committee heard that the delay in completing repairs to the plant has deprived the Tongaat community and surrounding areas of access to water,” said committee chairpersons, Cedric Frolick and Jomo Nyambi.

On Tuesday, the committee received updates from the provincial government and eThekwini Municipality officials.

During their meeting, the committee raised concerns about the slow rollout of human settlements in the province and acknowledged that this may be due to slow tender processes.

The committee, however, also recognised that eThekwini Municipality has done much to resolve processes around disaster relief, including reducing the number of shelters, providing additional temporary residential units (TRUs) and making available additional parcels of land in rural areas.

The committee also raised concern about the fact that no one is taking responsibility for repairs of the roads between the province and the municipality.

“This has far reaching implications on transport costs for people living in communities near Shongweni, who end up paying more transport fees as a result of using alternative roads,” Frolick and Nyambi said. 

The committee expressed appreciation to the province for its consistent reporting with regard to its disaster relief activities.

Science and decision-making 

The committee commended the presentation from the Council for Geoscience, which emphasised science as a basis for decision-making on infrastructure development in government.

The committee supported the council’s proposal that geotechnical studies must be a pre-requisite for infrastructure development

The committee will continue with its oversight visit on Wednesday by conducting follow-up site visits to previously visited areas around Ugu District Municipality in Port Shepstone. –