Rains boost KZN dam levels, but province not out of the woods yet

Rains boost KZN dam levels, but province not out of the woods yet

While acknowledging the pain and hardship the rains has brought to some, the Mhlathuze Water, a company that cleans and supplies bulk water to various district municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal, says the recent rains in the province have improved dam levels in the province.

Mhlathuze Water spokesperson, Siyabonga Maphumulo, the two dams they use to supply residents, namely the Goedetrow Dam and the Pongola Port Dam, are however not out of the woods yet.

“Goedetrow Dam has risen to 67.6 million cubic metres and last week it was 66.7 million cubic metres last year while at the same time it was 52.8 million cubic metres and the most famous Pongola Port Dam with Jozini Dam 51 million cubic metres last week it was 48.4 million cubic metres last year it was 43.9 million cubic meters,” he says.

Maphumulo is urging residents to continue using water sparingly.

“We are urging our people to work on water so that we can have it for a long time and those who can afford to pay their water bills must please do so that our municipalities can fix the infrastructure. But for those who don’t know, remember that water is a very important weapon as we face the COVID-19 epidemic, where we desperately need a drop and a drop that means nothing to each person,” Maphumulo concludes.

KwaZulu-Natal recovering from drought that some had described as having been the worst in 100 years.

Authorities have previously said the province would need weeks and weeks of sustained rainfall to refill its fast declining water reservoirs to return to water levels considered safe and sustainable.

Kgetlengrivier water provision spat rages on

Kgetlengrivier water provision spat rages on

The spat between the Kgetlengrivier Local Municipality and the local citizens’ group rages on.

The residents’ group took over the water and sewage provision from the municipality on Thursday.

This was in line with a December 18 court order, which had given the municipality 10 days to supply water to Koster and Swartruggens residents or lose control of the resource management to the residents’ association.

However, the municipality says the citizens group, led by Karen van Heerden has in fact violated the court order.

“The so-called experts brought by the applicants were not presented formally to the municipality, any government institution or the court nor their qualifications presented to any of the afore mentioned institutions to verify if indeed they are qualified to operate the plants. This essentially means the applicants have taken over the plants without demonstrating to the respondent that they have sought the necessary experts to operate the plant, a function constitutionally bestowed to the respondent.”

Municipal manager, Joseph Mogale, says the move was also unnecessary as the municipality did comply with the December court order.

“The respondents have been supplying portable and purified water to the communities of Kgetlengrivier Local Municipality. Efforts have been made to stop the spillage into the Koster and Elands rivers and the respondents have succeeded in this regard.”

A court process was also underway when the residents took over. Mogale says they had filed an urgent court application, challenging the ruling.

“To the municipality’s dismay an interim order was executed illegally so by the respondents in the most hostile and inconsiderate manner. The applicants took control of the water treatment plant and waste treatment plant without any courtesy nor due observation of hand over processes despite being informed that the consideration application is set down to be heard on the 8th of January 2020. The applicants came with scores of security personnel including K9 dogs and took over the plants which meant that the provision of water was immediately interrupted due to hostile take-over of the waste and water treatment plants which ceased to operate due to forced shut down by the applicants.”

Van Heerden insists they have done nothing wrong and merely implemented a court order.

The community leader says the community has had enough of water shortages in Koster.

He says it is a risk they can’t afford in the face of COVID-19 that’s wreaking havoc across the world.

Amathole municipality confident it’ll avert looming court action over water

Amathole municipality confident it’ll avert looming court action over water

The Amathole District Municipality says it will meet the January 15 deadline for it to present a water supply plan for communities of ward 28 in Centane, in the Eastern Cape.

On December 9, a coalition of community activists and civil society organisations working in the province wrote a final letter of demand to the Amathole and Mnquma municipalities as well as the Amatola Water Board demanding emergency and long-term water provision plans.

The group includes Coastal Links’ Harvey Ntsoko, the Masifundisane Trust, Afesis Corplan and the Centre for Environmental Rights (CER).

It has threatened to take the municipalities and the water board to court should they fail to present an emergency and long-term plan for the Centane residents, whom they say are still unable to access water – more than nine months a national state of disaster was declared due the COVID-19 outbreak.

The activists say while there are acute water access problems in communities across the country, the situation in parts of the Eastern Cape has reached crisis proportions.

“In the area of Centane in the Eastern Cape, the situation has been worsened by an ongoing drought, with the sick and the elderly bearing the brunt of a water, health and environmental crisis, all exacerbated by a breakdown in local governance. Moreover, the province is now in the grips of a second surge of the COVID-19 pandemic,” they say.

While acknowledging the problems, the Amathole District Municipality Spokesperson, Nonceba Madikizela-Vuso says they are doing their best to mitigate the situation.

“Our immediate intervention is water carting. We are continuing with borehole exploration in the area as part of short term interventions,” she says.

“It is noteworthy to indicate that the area is part of our calytic projects on sustainable water solutions as long term solution. In this regard, we are investigating alternative water sources, including sea water desalination,” Madikizela-Vuso adds.

The municipality says it hopes the implementation of its Vision 2058 strategic document will address some of the challenges the province has had to contend with over the years in its bid to provide water to its rural communities. These include the delay of water deliveries to communities that rely on portable water due to frequent truck breakdowns, which the municipality attributes to bad terrain.

Boil water before drinking, Sekhukhune municipality warns residents

Boil water before drinking, Sekhukhune municipality warns residents

Residents of Groblersdal, Motetema and Tafelkop are urged to first boil the portable water they get from the tap before consuming it.

The Sekhukhune District Municipality says this will clear the high turbidity in the water that is coming from the Groblersdal Water Treatment Plant.

The Sekhukhune District Municipality says it is rectifying the matter.

According to US-based water treatment company, AOS Treatment Solutions, turbidity refers to how clear a liquid is.

Greater turbidity typically implies lower quality as it can cause heavy metals to be added to the water supply. It can shield bacteria or other organisms so that chlorine cannot disinfect the water as effectively.

Some organisms found in such water can cause symptoms such as nausea, cramps, and headaches.

Water quality concerns hit Buffalo City Municipality

Water quality concerns hit Buffalo City Municipality

Residents in some parts of East London, in the Eastern Cape, have been complaining about the quality of water in the area.

They say the water smells bad and its taste is off.

However, authorities have moved to allay residents’ fears.

In a statement, the Buffalo City Municipality says the problem is possibly due to the seasonal algae bloom in the nearby dam.

“However, we can assure the public that the water is safe to drink as per the microbiological tests, which are done weekly on the potable water. Therefore no gastrointestinal infections or stomach pains may be associated with taste and odour on our water.”

The municipality says it has increased the dosage of powder activated carbon, which deals with taste and odour as from the past weekend.

Consumers who are still affected by the taste and odour are urged to report the matter or call the municipality’s Call Centre on 0437059234/5 for further investigations.

Ndwedwe municipality accused of sabotaging water supply

The community of Ndwedwe has vowed to shut down the town, north of Durban, ahead of the May 8 elections. This comes after the residents have accused the local municipality of deliberately cutting off the water supply to the area in a money making scheme.

Residents have alleged the municipality decided to stop water supply to the area, to allow private water trucks to provide water at a cost. Some residents claim that they were asked to pay R300 by the water truck drivers.

B Ngobese, from the representative of the African Freedom Revolution, AFR, an organization that has been at the forefront of developing the community, confirmed the allegations, adding that “we have discovered that the water is being cut off deliberately so that the municipality can contract private water supply companies”.

In the wake of the allegations, the mayor of Ndwedwe municipality, Cllr Vincent Chili, called a meeting with the different stakeholders, to address the issues raised by the community. In the meeting, Chili acknowledged the allegations, albeit claiming ignorance, and promised to launch an investigation on the matter.

The mayor has since been given until May 28, to provide the community with answers. – Inanda FM (Edited by Simba Honde)

Ramaphosa visits Ladysmith

Ramaphosa visits Ladysmith

After sustained community protests, President Cyril Ramaphosa visited Ekuvukeni, outside Ladysmith, at the weekend and promised to fast track service delivery and create job opportunities.

With less than three weeks to go before voting day, the president’s visit comes after residents refused to listen to community safety and liaison MEC Mxolisi Kaunda, and took a bus to Dannhauser, 75km away, to pose questions to Ramaphosa.

The community has been protesting about issues with water supply and broken sewage pipes. Ramaphosa told them he would act against government officials who were not delivering services, according to a report on Timeslive, but appealed to them not to prevent children from attending school.

The president’s visit started at the home of Joseph Shabalala, the founder of Ladysmith Black Mambazo. He also went to the Nazareth Baptist Church (Shembe), before ending at Ekuvukeni. – Nqubeko FM (edited by Siya Motha)