The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality faces a dry festive season as the Democratic Alliance (DA)-led coalition says it will forge ahead with punitive water tariffs and electricity restrictions, despite threats by opposition parties to make the city ungovernable.
The metro faces a critical water shortage after failing to adhere to a national 2014 directive to save water.
Members of the African National Congress (ANC), Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), United Democratic Movement (UDM) and Congress of the People (COPE) members picketed against the council decision.
ANC regional leader Beza Ntsona says that people in the townships are paying too much money, don’t have a voice and have been neglected due to the new leadership. Ntsona adds that they are going to make the city ungovernable if the decision gets implemented.”
EFF regional leader Yoliswa Yako calls the water restrictions a bullying system and says that people were not consulted on the matter.
The DA led coalition has hit back saying poor customers still enjoy assistance and that restrictions are the only way to avoid a water crisis.
However, the DA maintains that the measures are necessary. “The punitive tariffs are going to affect those who are using more than 400 litres of water a day who pay for that water. It is not going to affect businesses, agriculture and commercial enterprises and the poor at this stage. We have asked the city manager to investigate so we can find equitable ways,” says Mayoral Committee member Annette Lovemore.
The metro says it needs to save 50 million litres a day, but is only managing to save about 30 million.
Already some parts of the city’s western areas and some townships in Uitenhage are without drinking water as a result of high demand.
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