Minister Senzo Mchunu applauds KLM for innovative water solutions in Nelson Mandela Bay Metro

Section 63 intervention in NMBM lifted and Minister applauds KLM for innovative water solutions

The Section 63 intervention directed by Water and Sanitation Minister, Senzo Mchunu in May 2022 on the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality (NMBM) has been lifted.

Minister Mchunu together with the Eastern Cape Provincial MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), Mr Zolile Williams met with the NMBM Council and announced closure of the Department of Water and Sanitation’s section 23 special intervention in the metro, during the visit to the province on 15-16 August 2023, to receive updates and progress reports on water intervention projects in the region.

The Metro was placed under the Section 63 intervention to avert Day Zero early last year, after facing a high risk of running out of water within 30 days due to drought, which would have had a dire effect to livelihood, jobs, local economy and investment.

Section 63 (2)(B) of the Water Services Act of 1997 (read with section 139 of the Constitution) provides for the Minister of Water and Sanitation to intervene at municipal level and take full control of a service delivery programme in instances were Municipalities fail to provide water services, as a basic human right.

In announcing the withdrawal of the intervention programme and exit of the department from the metro, Minister Mchunu said he was satisfied with the progress made with the interventions to the metro to avert Day Zero through various short, medium to long term projects to expand water supply.

The Minister said however that the current water restrictions imposed onto the Metro when the dams started drying up will remain as gazetted and that municipality is expected, for the next 18 months, to report quarterly to the department on progress on the business transformation process, with a particular focus on progress with the following: water conservation and demand management; improving the level of service; and the implementation of the business turnaround strategy to ensure resilience.

Minister Mchunu lauded the municipality for the progress made in recovering from eminent Day Zero and addressing all water leaks backlogs, and further urged the Metro to pay more attention to improving their demand and consumption which has not reduced even during the drought season and may threaten future water security.

“It has been an honour to be part and assist this world class city that is known across the world because of the name bestowed to it. We would like to see this name rising higher in a good way and bring more investment to the city. We hope that after our exit, the metro does not regress and is able to maintain the status quo with all the interventions that have been put in place,” said Minister Mchunu.

Cllr van Niekerk said operations in place to curb the scourge of vandalism included a collaboration with the community, security companies and the SA Police Service (SAPS).

Interventions put in place included emergency water supply and expanding water supply through water tankering, new groundwater boreholes constructed and linked to distribution system, and the upgrades of the Nooidgedacht Water Treatment Works (Low Level Scheme phase 3) which consisted of increasing supply of treated water from Gariep Dam to a total peak supply capacity of 210 megalitres per day and decreasing dead storage level of Impofu Dam to increase capacity, as well as the desalination of sea water as a long term goal.

Kick-starting the two-day working visit, the Minister, accompanied by the MEC, Department of Water and Sanitation Director-General, Dr Sean Phillips, provincial government and local government officials, began in Jeffrey’s Bay Water Treatment Works in the Kouga Local Municipality to assess progress on the Drought Relief Project, followed by a meeting at the Nelson Mandela Metro Municipal Chambers in Gqeberha.

In Jeffrey’s Bay Minister Mchunu hailed the Kouga Municipality for finding innovative and technological solutions to ensure water security in the municipality.

The municipality was declared a Disaster Area in 2016 following severe droughts since 2015 after the dams: Kouga, Impofu and Churchill, supplying water to the municipality were not filling due to lack of rainfall resulting in the municipality losing most of the water allocation from the dams.

As a responce to the drought, the department allocated R57 million to Kouga Municipality from the Water Services Infrastructure Grant (WSIG) to implement drought relief projects. The Municipality drilled 9 more boreholes followed by the construction of Water Treatment plants in Jeffrey’s Bay, Humansdorp, St Francis Bay and Hankey.

The municipality also constructed one of the biggest processing plants in Africa for water contaminated by iron and manganese within the Jeffrey’s Bay Plant, to treat the water from the boreholes to drinkable quality.

These packages are completed and are currently working to treat water being pumped from the boreholes. The four Water Treatment Works will allow Kouga Municipality to supply up to 70% of its own average water consumption and rely on the Metro for only 30%.

Minister Mchunu said the forward-thinking of Kouga is something that many other municipalities can learn from.

MEC Williams implored leadership in these municipalities to address non-revenue water, improve billing systems and encourage water users to pay for their use in order to keep the systems well-functioning.

“We would like to thank the Minister for the intervention and support you are continuously providing to our municipalities. Now it is upto us keep these systems well maintained to ensure continuous services by ensuring that we bill all the users and collect revenue which in turn will be used to service these water infrastructure and systems,” said MEC Williams.

The Algoa Water Supply System which is comprised of the dams that feed into Kouga municipality and the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, is currently standing at an average of 46,7%, an increase from last week’s 44,7%. The Impofu Dam remains low at 16,9% while Loerie dam is at full capacity sitting at 95.5% while Kouga also continues to soar from last week’s 54.6% to 57.6% this week.

For more information contact:

Wisane Mavasa

Spokesperson for the Department of Water and Sanitation

Cell: 060 561 8935

E-mail: mavasaw@dws.gov.za(link sends e-mail)

Kamogelo Mogotsi

Spokesperson for the Ministry

Cell: 076 523 0085

Source: Government of South Africa