Knysna Municipality: Time to Act! Stop the Collapse of Service Delivery and Start Doing Your JOB!

ActionSA has repeatedly expressed its concern about the collapse of the Knysna Municipality, the consequences of which have resulted in thousands of households suffering without access to water among other dire outcomes.

Consequently, in the absence of meaningful intervention, the decline in service delivery has forced ordinary citizens, alongside organisations like Gift of the Givers, to step in and provide relief to tens of thousands of residents deprived of water.

It is shocking that despite the evident crisis, ActionSA must urge the Knysna Municipality to fulfil its obligations, and ensure that every municipal resource is effectively directed towards addressing the water challenges or, at the very least, responding to residents’ calls for access to grey water.

Over the past three weeks, thousands of residents have endured the indignity of being unable to wash or flush their toilets. In a clear sign of the municipality’s incapacity to deal with this crisis, water trucks are sporadic and appear unannounced, often arriving at night and disappearing before residents have the opportunity to fill up buckets with water.

The stories of many elderly and infirm residents having to rely on the goodwill of others to supply them with a few litres of water highlight the sheer desperation and urgent need for intervention. Regrettably, during the council meeting of February 15th, the coalition of chaos again failed to present any workable solution.

While the municipality fails at fulfilling its obligations, ActionSA offers up a practical solution. Thousands of abandoned wheelie bins lie stockpiled at both Loerie Park and the old Testing Grounds. Each one of these bins, made of thick, durable plastic that is waterproof, has a capacity of more than 150 litres. They could be delivered to those households most vulnerable to running out of water when the reservoirs run dry.

While this crisis certainly demands a more focused approach on the municipality’s water infrastructure, together with many residents, we believe that if positioned under the roof of a house and left open, these bins will rapidly fill with rainwater. This would allow those households access to water for bathing, flushing toilets, and washing clothes, thereby providing some temporary relief.

ActionSA implores the municipality to fulfill its duty, to alleviate the plight of the thousands of people left without access to water over the past weeks and restore a measure of dignity.

Knysna’s collapse underscores ActionSA’s commitment to building a professional public service that is capacitated to enhance service delivery performance. It is essential that state expenditure, particularly at local government must prioritise frontline service delivery and essential functions.

ActionSA believes that by redirecting critical resources away from wasteful expenditure and towards service delivery, we will empower municipalities to provide crucial services for residents, ensuring that we can create an enabling environment for socio-economic prosperity within our towns and cities.