Sakhiseni Nxumalo
Senior journalist
2 minute read
27 Jun 2022
06:02

Government to intensify efforts to fix water issues in Ugu District in KwaZulu-Natal

Sakhiseni Nxumalo

Water and Sanitation Minister, Senzo Mchunu, has vowed to intensify efforts to address the ongoing water and sanitation issues faced by the Ugu District, in the KZN South Coast.

Water and Sanitation Minister, Senzo Mchunu, has vowed to intensify efforts to address the ongoing water and sanitation issues faced by the Ugu District, in the KZN South Coast.

On Friday, Mchunu visited the district where he was accompanied by his deputy minister, David Mahlobo and KwaZulu-Natal Premier, Sihle Zikalala.

For several years, Ugu residents and businesses have been facing serious water shortages with the municipality citing old infrastructure and vandalism as the root causes. Mchunu said there were a number of things that needed to be done to address the problem of water in the hotspot areas.

These included the capacity of the Ugu District Municipality.

As part of long-term plans to address the water issues, Mchunu said there were two projects that the Department of Water and Sanitation was working on and they had already started working on them through the Umgeni Water board. This includes the lower uMkhomazi Water project which is currently at the initial stage, said Mchunu.

He said the project would deliver more than 100 megalitres per day thereby closing the current deficit of 70 megalitres.

He said a second project was the construction of another dam as the Ugu District’s two dams were not enough to sustain the provision of water.

Mchunu said: 

“We live in a water scarce country and we have to accept that. Therefore, whatever water we have, we must conserve it and use it sparingly. However, we don’t have a crisis as a country. Just about enough water is available in the country despite the fact that we are water scarce. Our problem is managing water between water sources and people who need water which includes business, agriculture, domestic use, and environment. We need to drastically improve our management of water services to those who need water.”

Zikalala said there was a challenge with regards to revenue collection in the municipality and that needed to be addressed in line with the water challenges in the district.

He said, as the provincial government, they would provide the technical support but the problem was also payment from both the business community to the residents in the Ugu District.

Zikalala said: 

“There’s one aspect that would be wrong if I get this platform and not address it. It’s a question of revenue collection. I think the community also has to take a particular responsibility. There is a problem with the billing system. We have implored the council to fix the billing system. If I can tell you the structure of the debt when it comes to water here: government departments owe Ugu 3%, 15% is from the business, 82% from the community who are not paying.”

Zikalala said while the municipality would be addressing the billing system, it was important to encourage a culture of paying for services. He said for the municipality to be sustainable, it also needed those who had an income to pay for municipal services.