DA to share governance best practice to assist with NMB’s looming Day Zero  

Issued by John Steenhuisen MP – Leader of the Democratic Alliance
24 May 2022 in News

Please find attached soundbite from the Leader of the Democratic Alliance John Steenhuisen MP. 

Pictures from oversight visits in the Nelson Mandela Bay and Kouga municipalities are attached here, here, here, here and here

With Day Zero set to hit in less than 22 days, the ANC-led coalition government in Nelson Mandela Bay is floundering and rudderless in its response to this looming crisis, and appears to have no disaster management plan in place. It is critical that the Metro receive as much high-level assistance as possible, and I have reached out to DA-governed municipalities to provide Nelson Mandela Bay with assistance.

DA-led Cape Town and the Western Cape government are now world leaders in drought disaster management, having already averted a Day Zero in 2018. A stable, honest, and transparent government in NMB would be able to implement the best practices of our DA governments who have built up a reputation for sound and efficient water management. Ultimately, managing a drought disaster requires a government with the capacity to implement a comprehensive disaster management plan.

Today I conducted oversight inspections in Nelson Mandela Bay and Humansdorp to assess the Day Zero readiness in these municipalities. It was clear to me that in NMB there is no comprehensive Day Zero strategy, the aggressive communication plan to manage public water demand is completely lacking, water augmentation plans are delayed, and there doesn’t seem to be a disaster management plan in place. This looming disaster needs to now manage two things: reducing demand, augmenting water supply, and putting together a comprehensive water provision plan should dams empty.

When the taps in the Western and Southern areas of the municipality, and more than 100 suburbs run dry, Nelson Mandela Bay will be the first Metro in the world to run out of water.

The only mitigating plan in place is to provide water tanks and tankers and communal taps. Residents will have to stand in queues for up to five hours to collect 50 litres of water from these facilities.

During my visit it was also made very clear that, in stark contrast to the ANC-led coalition in NMB, the DA-governed Kouga Municipality has spent millions of rands on projects to lessen the impact of this disaster and has upgraded the Humansdorp Water Treatment Works to provide additional treated borehole and fountain water to residents.

Kouga has taken several steps to mitigate the disaster of Day Zero. These include:

• More than R200 million spent on drought mitigation and water augmentation.

• 38 viable boreholes connected in total to date.

• R12,5 million recently secured from the Department of Co-Operative Governance (COGTA) to develop and equip four further boreholes in Humansdorp.

• Water tanks installed at Hankey, Pellsrus Hall, Aston Bay Hall, Jeffreys Bay Fire Station and St Francis Bay Fire Station.

• Water-flow restrictors installed at homes of 200 high-water users across the region.

• Total of 60 water tanks to be installed at Jeffreys Bay (20 tanks), Humansdorp (26), St Francis Bay (4) and Gamtoosvallei (10).

• Full disaster plan in place.

It is, however, still imperative that residents reduce water consumption.

The municipality must pull out all the stops to expedite the repair of water leaks and residents must do all they can to reduce water consumption. Only by working together can we avoid this humanitarian crisis.

The DA will do all it can to assist residents during this unprecedented drought, drawing from the best practice that our governments have already shown in drought disaster management. Now is the time to work together to ensure that no resident in Nelson Mandela Bay and Kouga run out of water.