Wednesday, 30 March 2022 10:03

Mchunu take a swipe at DA for calling Rand Water incompetent.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

Water and Sanitation Minister, Senzo Mchunu, has encouraged Rand Water to continue communicating planned maintenance of water infrastructure to residents.

Mchunu’s call follows the allegations made by the Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng which accused Rand Water of being incompetent and failing to provide water tankers during planned maintenance, amongst others.

"They [Rand Water] are not incompetent, they are competent and they are efficient," Mchunu said at a media briefing on Tuesday.

He acknowledged that the country experiences water outages due to various reasons, including water bursts and maintenance.

"It is more localised, it is more in relation to local municipalities. The tankers that are supposed to be the basis for a campaign against Rand Water, has nothing to do with Rand Water. They have everything to do where necessary, with local municipalities.

"We are here to make it clear that from where we sit, Rand Water is competent, they are doing everything that any other human being in their shoes can do or company can do. We are here to encourage them and to support them to higher heights of efficiency," Mchunu said.

Mchunu added that water is a sensitive topic and a crucial service, which the department is committed to provide.

Rand Water Board Chairperson, Advocate Matshidiso Hashatse said Rand Water, has without fail, communicated planned supply interruptions to its customers.

"We would never undertake maintenance on a level or a scale that might impact service delivery without preparing the municipalities and without direct communication to the customers that are affected.

"Because we are sensitive as well to the public, we also generate media statements to make sure that the word is spread far and wide, and reaches the public as well," Hashatse said.

Echoing the Minister’s sentiments, Hashatse emphasised that being a bulk provider, Rand Water is not responsible for reticulation.

She said the entity purifies water and gets it out to the municipalities, who are responsible for reticulating water to the consumers.

"We don’t enter into the space of water tankers because that is an area of municipalities. [But] when the municipalities say to us we are struggling, we don’t have enough tankers or the area is too wide and can’t meet their obligation in terms of water tankering, then we do it as assistance to the municipality…’s not our responsibility, "Hashatse explained.

On asbestos pipes, which causes frequent pipe bursts, Rand Water does not have any asbestos pipes in its network, but the pipes are in the metros and municipal networks.

"We remain committed to augmenting, refurbishment, operations and maintenance of our infrastructure. To this effect, we plan to spend close to R25 billion in the next five years to upgrade our infrastructure to meet current and future water requirements of our municipalities.

"We also commit ourselves to assisting, where possible, our municipal customers in and around Gauteng to address their high water loses of more than 40% as a result of their ageing infrastructure that includes asbestos pipes in their value chain," she said.