Dilapidated infrastructure causes major water losses in Mpumalanga

Issued by Trudie Grovè-Morgan: MPL – DA Spokesperson on CoGTA
20 Jul 2022 in Press Releases

The DA in Mpumalanga calls on CoGTA MEC, Mandla Ndlovu, to ring fence a portion of our local municipalities’ budgets for water infrastructure maintenance as distribution losses threatenwater security.

According to the 2020/2021 Provincial Overview Report on Water and Sanitation Services, 60% of Mpumalanga’s water supply infrastructure is old and made up of asbestos which can easily burst and leak. This places a significant strain on water supply and results in high water distribution losses that affects municipalities like Lekwa, eMalahleni, Dr JS Moroka and Thembisile Hani.

According to the report which was released this year, it came to light that:

  • The current water demand in eMalahleni far exceeds what the municipality can supply as the deficit is 39.43 ML/day;
  • In Dr JS Moroka the current deficit is 20ML/day; and
  • The current water supply deficit in Thembisile Hani is 17.1ML/day.

Given our current water deficit in municipalities, it is unacceptable that thousands of kilolitres of water is lost in distribution through leaking pipes, taps and illegal water connections.

The 2020/21 municipal annual reports further revealed that:

  • In Lekwa,the cost of water distribution losses increased to R77 970 922 from R62 642 352 (or 73%) in 2018/19.
  • In Thembisile Hani, water losses cost the municipality R62.8 million in the 2020/21 financial year.
  • In eMalahleni,unaccountable water loss increased from 15 439 727 kl in 2019/2020 to being 18 217 509 kl in the 2020/21 financial year.
  • And in Govan Mbeki,unaccounted water losses increased from 10 333 627 kl in 2019/2020 to being 11 108 036 kl in the 2020/21 financial year.

Our municipalities also cite lack of infrastructure maintenance and requisite tools of trade amongst leading causes of water losses.

As the past couple of years have wreaked havoc on our provincial economy and resulted in the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs, we call on the MEC of CoGTA to create an environment conducive to attracting investors by dealing with the negative effects of the high water distribution losses and the resultant water deficiency in many municipalities.