Despite the deepening water crisis in Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB), President Cyril Ramaphosa has declined to join me for an urgent drought briefing at Port Elizabeth City Hall today, these were the words of Cllr Nqaba Bhanga, Mayor of NMB.
Bhanga in a statement made available to SurgeZirc SA on Friday revealed that he wrote a letter requesting a 30 minutes meeting with the President which he declined.
“I have received a response from his office acknowledging my correspondence, but declining to attend due to time constraints and programme demands,” he said.
Bhanga in his letter to Ramaphosa said he highlighted that the finalisation of the third phase of the Nooitgedacht Low-Level Scheme is a massive cause of concern, as it was due by the end of September 2021.
“Since the provision of bulk water is a national competency, the Department of Water Affairs (DWA) was responsible for the project and appointed the Amatola Water Board as its implementing agent.
“Regrettably, we recently learnt that, due to the non-payment of the contractor, the implementation of this project had been delayed. My office has already written to both DWA and the Amatola Water Board and put on record how important it is that this project gets back on track.
“It seems as if the implementing agent is either unable to pay the civil contractor or, in the alternative, deliberately delaying the finalisation of the project.
“Due to the DWA’s inability to resolve this issue, I invited the president to this briefing to impress upon him how dire the situation is and to request his immediate intervention,” the statement partly reads.
The NMB mayor however expressed disappointment in Ramaphosa for his response stating that he prioritized campaign duties over the plight of the people.
“It boggles the mind that the president would rather focus on ANC campaigning than attend to the water crisis, the biggest threat facing the Metro. Nothing can be more pressing than the need to resolve this impasse.
“The residents of NMB can not be further compromised during a time of crisis because of bureaucracy, mismanagement, or an administrative blunder,” Mayor Bhanga said.
See a copy of the letter below