DA to set up KZN water agency to beat taps running dry

KZN DA premier candidate (white shirt) was welcomed with cheers by party delegates when arriving at Verulam north of Durban on Saturday. | Supplied.

KZN DA premier candidate (white shirt) was welcomed with cheers by party delegates when arriving at Verulam north of Durban on Saturday. | Supplied.

Published Mar 19, 2024


Durban — The DA in KwaZulu-Natal has vowed to end water challenges by establishing a provincial infrastructure agency that will guarantee that there is water in every tap.

Delivering the party’s provincial manifesto at Verulam, north of Durban, on Saturday where he unveiled the party’s 7-point plan, premier candidate Chris Pappas said his party would end water challenges in the province if elected into premier position.

Holding the manifesto in the area was strategic for the DA as the northern areas of Durban, including Verulam, had not had water for months.

Pappas said he was aware that, in eThekwini, people had been without water for months, adding that the Minister of Water and Sanitation, Senzo Mchunu, even promised that water would be flowing out of taps by February 15, yet many parts of the city were still waiting.

“He lied to you and then ran away and it is a problem all over this province. In so many communities, the taps have simply run dry.

“The lack of water here is not a natural disaster, it is a man-made disaster. It is the result of chronic underinvestment in water infrastructure and rampant corruption – and this means that we have the power to fix it.

“In Manguzi, I met Thembisile Mthembu who drinks water from a river shared with animals.

“On the South Coast, tourism is collapsing as Ugu District Municipality fails the people. When I am elected as your premier, we will end the problem by establishing a provincial infrastructure agency dedicated to solving the water and sanitation crisis,” said Pappas.

The agency would be responsible for facilitating water infrastructure projects and the pooling of finances through public-private partnerships. It would act as a provincial co-ordinator between local and district municipalities as the implementers of water infrastructure grants, Pappas added.

Outlining the seven point-plan, which he said focuses on rescuing KZN, Pappas promised to create 300 000 jobs in KwaZulu-Natal by investing in infrastructure, supporting businesses and helping job seekers find work.

The DA said it would create job seeker grants where people looking for jobs would be assisted with money for transport.

As part of the job creation strategy, the DA said it would encourage entrepreneurship by setting up “one-stop-shops” to reduce the time and cost of starting a business.

Pappas promised to end load shedding in the province by sourcing new energy supplies and increasing the use of renewable energy sources.

He said in uMngeni Local Municipality, where he is the mayor, he had already launched a programme with independent power producers to end load shedding.

Third on the DA’s priority list would be crime fighting. The party said it would create a provincial police service that was well-resourced, well-trained, and free of political interference. The party called for the decentralisation of police from national level to provinces.

In addition to the provincial police service, Pappas also wanted an independent provincial anti-corruption unit with the power to investigate allegations of bribery and corruption.

Another priority would be to cut waiting times for provincial health services by half and establish a School Evaluation Authority to ensure that higher teaching standards were reached and maintained.

The manifesto launch was also attended by the party’s National Assembly’s chief whip, Siviwe Gwarube, who said the province was a hope for the entire country for the DA to dislodge the ANC from power because of a sizeable number of votes.

She called on the people to go out in numbers to vote for the DA so that the Multi-Party Charter would succeed and bring change to the whole country, saying South Africa was not a poor country but poorly led.

In KwaZulu-Natal, the latest polls tipped the DA and the IFP to get 19% each. Both parties are part of the Multi-Party Charter group.

This means that their coalition would need 12% to govern the province. They would need ActionSA and other smaller parties that are part of the Multi-Party Charter group.

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