Proposed community service delivery option in Wards 3 & 4: Water production and supply.
Service delivery in South Africa in general and in our area in particular, is a major challenge. It is of great concern to residents, businesses, investors, visitors and tourists alike.
Service delivery concerns include:
- Water provision
- Road infrastructure provision and maintenance
- Environmental care
- Refuse removal
- Maintenance of parks, street lights etc.,
The economy of our area is primarily reliant on tourism, therefore appropriate infrastructure, a pristine environment, dependable services and reliable delivery are essential to protect, attract and retain investment.
Our growing population places increasing pressure on our services and resources year on year. This pressure emanates from:
- Semigration from other areas
- More people working from home
- Growth of informal housing
- Expansion of formal housing
- Developments in the area
We can no longer afford to stand idly by and only be able to proffer opinions with regard to service delivery – we need to have some degree of authority; a constitutional right.
We therefore have three options:
- Do nothing – lose/lose situation
- Litigate and threaten – a win/lose situation
- Collaborate – which could lead to a long-term win/win sustainable option, maintaining and building positive relationships
REPORT ON RECENT ACTIONS AND PROGRESS:
During the past few weeks, intense research, discussions and presentations have taken place to address the poor performance of Amatola Water in securing reliable and accountable water supply to our community. These efforts have only been focussed on Wards 3 & 4 of Ndlambe Municipality.
A joint group consisting of the Technical Water Group represented by the two relevant ratepayers’ organisations and the Chamber of Business and Tourism was established.
Engagement with the Ndlambe Mayor (Ms. K Ncamiso), Municipal Manager (Adv. R Dumezweni) and Director of Infrastructure (Ms. N. Vithi) took place to discuss a collaborative plan to resolve Amatola Water’s inability to provide a constant and reliable water supply.
It was decided that we can longer work with Amatola Water as advice-givers without the managerial input required to implement our practical suggestions.
Our preference therefore, is to work in a formalised structure with Ndlambe Municipality, in a Private Public Partnership (PPP) where we would have greater formal input in the running and management of the water plant.
As a result of the success achieved by these frank discussions, we were invited to make presentations in three or four virtual, open meetings with representatives from the Office of Minister of Water and Sanitation, Regional Department of Water and Sanitation officials and Amatola Water. The objective being to find solutions to address the critical water problem facing our community.
The joint group was received warmly in all of these meetings and our presentations were extremely well received by everyone, especially by the DWS who also expressed their non-acceptance of Amatola’s inadequate performance.
In practice, a PPP may take years to establish and as time is of the essence, DWS is exploring ways that a tripartite agreement can be constituted immediately with Amatola, Ndlambe Municipality and our joint group, with the proper authority to manage the plant.
An issue still to be determined is the composition of the representation. As we are also considering becoming involved with the non-functioning sewerage systems in Wards 3 and 4 as well as the ecological nightmare of Amatola’s operation we would need to invite Estuary Care on to team. There is a possibility that other interested parties in our community may also need to be part of the local representative body.
It has transpired that there is an urgent need for a Joint Community Forum to represent the community on matters of mutual concern and to provide continuity.
Objectives of the Joint Community Forum are to:
- Represent the community and various community bodies on matters initially concerning water manufacture but ultimately covering all aspects, from source to the door and from door to sewerage disposal points
- Serve as a consultation and communication forum
- Monitor service delivery
- Engage with National Treasury through DWS and other stakeholders on matters of expansion
- Enable existing resources
- Contribute with managerial, technical and problem solving expertise
- Link national and international sources of expertise
- Involve service providers from our community
We will keep our members informed as the way forward unfolds and becomes clearer.