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Ntshavheni scolds absent Joburg mayor Gwamanda over Gauteng’s water crisis

Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni says Gauteng mayors, especially Johannesburg mayor Kabelo Gwamanda, must 'come to the party' and resolve the province's water crisis. 

Minister in the presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni says Gauteng mayors, especially Johannesburg mayor Kabelo Gwamanda, must come to the party and resolve the province’s water crisis. 

The province has been struggling with water supply in several municipalities over the past few weeks.

Briefing the media on the outcomes of the cabinet meeting on Thursday, Ntshavheni said the water and sanitation department’s intervention on how to solve the crisis required the availability of mayors. 

Municipalities need assistance

She said municipalities need the assistance of the department to fix the problem, not the other way around.

“Mayors and water authorities must come to the party to assist and collaborate in terms of the briefing that we received,” she said. 

ALSO READ: Mchunu implements ‘water shifting’ for dry Joburg reservoirs as Gwamanda remains mum

She said the water losses experienced by municipalities were higher because the damaged infrastructure was being repaired and attended to.

“We must indicate, even in the absence of the mayor of Johannesburg, Johannesburg Water has been part of the meetings with the minister of water and sanitation [Senzo Mchunu]. 

“And it is not what the minister requires assistance with from the cities, it is what the cities require assistance with from the department of water of sanitation, and that’s why it’s important that executive mayors form part of those meetings,” she said. 

Watch: Ntshavheni briefs the media on the outcomes of the cabinet meeting

Gwamanda missing in action

Gwamanda has missed several water crisis meetings.

He missed a meeting last week where Mchunu met with Rand Water and mayors of the various municipalities in the province to engage the municipalities on their water conservation and demand management plans. 

The meeting was attended by Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Thembi Nkadimeng, deputy ministers of the department of water and sanitation David Mahlobo and Judith Tshabalala, and Deputy Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Parks Tau. 

Attempts to get comment from Gwamanda’s office on whether the mayor was planning on addressing the water crisis were unsuccessful at the time of publishing. Any update will be included once received.

Public safety MMC Mgcini Tshwaku also called on Gwamanda to hold a meeting and engage officials of Rand Water, Johannesburg Water, and the MMC for Johannesburg Environment and Infrastructure Services Department to address issues around the water crisis with urgency.

“The growing frustrations of residents have resulted in protests, thus putting the safety of residents at risk. We cannot allow this to happen as leaders. We have to practice honesty and transparency with residents at all times,” Tshwaku said.

READ MORE: Joburg water shortages result in violent protests