Sewer Crisis: Meditation Will Not Solve eThekwini Crisis; Metro Must File Answering Affidavit by Friday

After a mediation session today with the eThekwini Metro Municipality’s representatives, to attempt to find a way forward for the city and its residents who have severely suffered the effects of dysfunctional and dilapidated sewage infrastructure, ActionSA firmly believes that a mediation with the Metro will not resolve eThekwini’s sewage crisis.

It became apparent that this matter is not prioritised by the Municipality, when they suggested that the meeting be held today at 14H00 (less than a week before the next court date), as they were “too busy” to meet earlier. This demonstrates that the municipality does not appreciate the severity of the situation.

As it stands, we believe that this was yet another delaying tactic from the Municipality to just buy time and further subject eThekwini residents to atrocious conditions. Nonetheless, we will not take our foot off the peddle in making sure that those accountable are brought to book.

The mediation failed before it began, as the Municipality representatives did not bring an action plan to discuss what is achievable. Previously they advised that they have a plan but no money. Now they have money but no plan. We remain largely unpersuaded by the mediation process.

The Municipality is not ready to work around the clock to fix issues. They have also failed to file their answering affidavits on multiple occasions, despite being afforded the platform for a mediation process. It remains to be seen whether they will now abide by the Court order to file by Friday this week, before our proceedings commence. Should they fail to do so, ActionSA will seek that the Court holds them in contempt of Court and will immediately apply for a preferential Court date to finally argue the matter. This will compel the Municipality to act upon their constitutional obligations.

Whilst we appreciate that the sewerage crisis was exacerbated by the floods of April 2022, it cannot be denied that the failing infrastructure existed several years prior thereto.

Prior to suddenly now receiving the R1.5 billion fund for the disaster (after we criticised this failure on the part of CoGTA), the Municipality had confidently communicated that they have a coherent plan in motion on how they will work in fixing all dilapidated, outdated and vandalised infrastructure in the city, and all that they were waiting for is funding, however, we were shocked to learn that the Municipality indeed does not have an actual action plan to fix this matter now that it has received the funding.

The allocation of R220 million earmarked collectively for water and sanitation is an utter insult to the residents, as the city is currently surviving on infrastructure that cannot accommodate the growing population.

Shockingly, eThekwini Municipality’s legal representatives had no clue until today that the Municipality had received its R1.5 billion funding, after its Mayor, Mxolisi Kaunda, had made the announcement on social media last week on 22 March 2023.

We look forward to receiving eThekwini’s answering affidavits on Friday. We are sure they will be telling.

The time for action is now, and that is why ActionSA will do everything in its power to ensure that eThekwini is restored to its former glory for residents and tourism alike.