NMB’s chaotic mismanagement leaves Bay residents high and dry as dams fail

Issued by Cilliers Brink MP – DA Shadow Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs
15 Jun 2022 in News

Please find attached soundbites by Cilliers Brink MP in English and Afrikaans

Day Zero has all but arrived in Nelson Mandela Bay and one of South Africa’s largest City’s is now facing a humanitarian crisis like never before.

Nelson Mandela Bay will run out of water in less than two weeks and will become the first metropolitan city in the world to suffer this fate. One of the City’s main dams, the Impofu Dam, has been decommissioned, while its other supply dam, the Churchill Dam, is teetering on 10% capacity.

The blame for this debacle can be placed squarely on the shoulders of the ANC-led coalition government, who failed to manage this unfolding crisis and ignored all the signs of what was to come.

When the DA took over government in 2016, we discovered that the Department of Water and Sanitation had over a period of several months, asked former ANC Mayor Danny Jordaan to implement water restrictions. Jordaan and the ANC ignored these requests to curry favour in the run-up to the 2016 Local Government Elections.

On taking office, the DA immediately implemented water strictions. In so doing, within a couple of months, we brought water consumption down from 300 megalitres to 250 megalitres per day. A  drought mitigation plan was drafted, funding was secured, and a contractor appointed to implement this plan.

When the ANC coalition of corruption took over in 2018, many of these drought mitigation projects were put on hold or were simply not implemented by the ANC government.

Bizarrely, the ANC-led coalition government even attempted to use a portion of the long-term loan funding for investment in water and sanitation infrastructure for the 2018 NMB Summer Festival and lost R187 million in drought mitigation funding because of an inability to spend this funding over two financial years.

The current ANC-led administration in Nelson Mandela Bay continues with it mismanagement and reckless over-extraction of the Metro’s water system. As of last week, the Metro was still abstracting a staggering 90 ML of bulk water a day from the Kromme system – 60 Ml from Churchill and 30 ML from Impofu. The allowable gazetted restrictions indicate that NMB should withdraw no more than 30 ML per day in total from this system

The Democratic Alliance has written to the Speaker of parliament to convene a joint sitting to address the unfolding water crisis in Nelson Mandela Bay. Bulk water supply is the responsibility of the National government, and the residents demands answers as to how this was allowed to happen and why the rudderless ANC-led coalition government has almost no plans in place to mitigate this humanitarian crisis.

Day Zero will prove to have disastrous consequences for the people of NMB, as very few alternative plans, to provide water to at least a third of the Metro, have been communicated.

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.