The South African Human Rights Commission (HRC) has been asked to urgently investigate the ongoing water problems in Nelson Mandela Bay.
Nqaba Bhanga, Eastern Cape leader of the DA and the party’s mayoral candidate for the Nelson Mandela Bay metro council, said on Wednesday that he had approached the HRC about the city’s water problems.
Residents of the city’s western and northern parts have been left without water for days since last week.
Water tankers were deployed in different areas, but residents were furious about the quality of the brown water.
Mongameli Bobani, mayoral committee member for infrastructure and engineering, says the city has had interruptions with its water supply for some time because they have reached “day zero”.
“No significant rain is forecast for the next three months. Residents are requested to use only 50 liters of water per person per day. ”
Bobani said on Wednesday that water supplies to certain parts of the city have been restored, and only the zones for Chelsea and Emerald Hill are affected.
Chelsea supplies water to Malabar, Westering, Linton Grange, Sherwood, Hunters Retreat, parts of Rowallan Park, Parsonsvlei, and Groenbossies.
The Chelsea reservoir is currently 7% full. The metro is filling up the empty system.
Emerald Hill supplies water to Walmer Heights, parts of Lovemore Park, Mount Pleasant, Miramar, Charlo, Walmer Downs, Overbaakens, Fairview, and parts of Newton Park.
Emerald Hill is further damaged by a faulty electric pump and insufficient water in the system.
The metro acknowledged that the city loses about 30% of its processed water long before it reaches residents’ taps.
On a previous occasion, Bobani attributed the overall water problems to high water consumption and dwindling water resources.
Residents of the subway use about 290 megalitres per day, but the subway can only deliver about 268 megalitres because the water levels are low.
Bhanga believes it is unfair of the metro to blame residents for the problems, especially because they are not informed about the water situation, and because high water consumers are not punished.
He says even councilors are in the dark about the problems. They can therefore not inform the people in the wards they serve.
“The ANC government’s inability to deal with the water crisis has now become a human rights issue.
“In Cape Town, the government had a clear communication strategy from the beginning and it worked. Here, people are not shown to use water sparingly, ”says Bhanga.
Some of the subway’s plans to rectify the situation include the construction of a new treatment plant just off Motherwell.
When this plant is expected to be completed in August 2022, it will be able to deliver about 26 megalitres of water per day from five boreholes.