Chris Ndaliso
Senior journalist
3 minute read
19 May 2022

Water quality in eThekwini still a concern after floods

Chris Ndaliso

Water and electricity infrastructure is still a challenge in eThekwini following the recent floods that left a trail of destruction in various parts of the province.

Water and electricity infrastructure is still a challenge in eThekwini following the recent floods that left a trail of destruction in various parts of the province.

eThekwini Municipality on Wednesday said it continues to monitor water quality in rivers and the sea through sampling and field surveys.

This follows damage to wastewater treatment plants and sanitation infrastructure caused by the recent floods.

eThekwini spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela
eThekwini spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela.

Municipal spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela said the damage to infrastructure subsequently resulted in sewerage pollution.

“The City has repaired minor sewer infrastructure faults and teams are also fast-tracking repairs to major sewer infrastructure through the disaster procurement forum.

Mayisela said:

“In the interests of public health, all beaches across the municipality remain closed until further notice. Communities are advised to avoid swimming, fishing, recreational and sporting activities as well as traditional activities with water in rivers and streams.”

River systems that are flagged as pollution hot spots due to sewer overflows or damaged and washed away sewer lines include Mbokodweni, uMhlanga, uMbilo, uMlaas, uMhlatuzana, uMdloti, oThongathi, Ohlanga, Isipingo, uMkhumbane, Palmiet, uMgeni, Wewe, Umhlangane, Toti, and Umkomaas rivers.

River systems also unsafe

Mayisela warned the public that other river systems leading to or off these systems are also regarded as unsafe.

It was revealed at a special council meeting yesterday that repeated floods in the Durban South Basin could lead to companies relocating in future.

A report tabled at the meeting stated that the City has 84 places that are currently used as shelters for the victims of the storm.

About 10 000 displaced people are sheltered in community halls, churches and some schools.

The City is further proposing the introduction of water restrictions to boost reservoir storage supplies.

Nicole Graham, DA eThekwini caucus leader and member of Durban’s executive committee (exco) led a placard demonstration outside the city’s electrical unit.PHOTO: Supplied

DA councillor Nicole Graham said the party’s particular concerns remained water, electricity and sanitation.

“Sewerage is still in an absolute state. We raised a number of concerns about the City’s ability to deliver services.

“We are still concerned about the money that’s supposed to be coming from the national treasury, nobody seems to know where this R1 billion is. The City can’t afford to pay for this disaster, this is where the national government needed to come in and keep to their promises,” said Graham

She added:

“We are very concerned about the infrastructure and the City intends to borrow another half-a-billion rand on top of the billion that was budgeted.”

The IFP’s Mdu Nkosi said it was good news that at least there has been some progress in restoring water and electricity.

“Our main concern is that the city cannot afford these costs, hence it would be a great thing for both the provincial and national government to intervene. We are of the view that in order for people to be safe, government needs to identify all the buildings that are not used and convert them for people who stay in shacks and [on] riverbanks.

“There’s still a huge task at hand towards recovery, so we need to work together as politicians to overcome this tragedy. The infrastructure is a mess and this really calls for national intervention.

“We hope that we will see the monies that were promised to the province by the national government,” said Nkosi.