Category Archives: General Water Sector News from Africa

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Sowetans should pay flat rate of R150/month for electricity – it will foster payment culture, says ANC councillor

A flat rate for electricity could help foster a culture of payment among Soweto residents, a local councillor told Fin24.

Soweto ANC councillor Mpho Sesedinyane believes a proposal for a R150 monthly flat rate for electricity could be a starting point to address the country’s non-payment woes. The flat-rate proposal was the brainchild of the South African National Civic Organisation – a non-political organisation which advocates on behalf of communities in engagements with government and other service providers. 

Soweto owes Eskom almost R20bn – almost half of the total local municipal debt owed to the electricity utility.

Eskom has started disconnecting power to thousands of Soweto households as a consequence.

Sesedinyane said the culture of non-payment dates back to apartheid when residents were told not to pay for public services as an act of resistance.

“Our people were told not to pay for services, not to pay for electricity,” Sesedinyane said.

The ruling ANC had not come back to residents to communicate it was noble to pay for services, after taking over in 1994, he said. Some residents can afford to pay, but are stuck in the old “mentality” and are still resisting payment, he added.

“We need to bring them back and say, we have won the country now. It is us [the ANC] that are governing now, can we now start to contribute and pay Eskom,” Sesedinyane said. These views have previously been expressed by president Cyril Ramaphosa and his deputy, David Mabuza, among others. 

Sesedinyane believes the introduction of a flat rate could be a starting point to create a culture of payment for services. 

“We had to agree (with Sanco) to come up with this project. For Eskom to collect revenue, it is important to start somewhere,” he said. That starting point is a flat fee of R150 households should pay per month for electricity.

If a flat rate of R150 is introduced, Eskom would at least generate some kind of income, which is better than none at all, he suggested.

Sesedinyane explained that the majority of Soweto residents are unemployed, living below the poverty line and are reliant on social grants. This means they are unable to pay for electricity.

The flat rate should be set at an amount which everyone can afford, including grant beneficiaries. After three or four years the flat rate can be increased, and at that point people will be used to paying for electricity, he added.

“People will then be in a position to know it is noble to pay for services, especially electricity. And they will be used to paying at the end of the day.”

Sesedinyane said that prepaid meters will not be the solution. “Our people will start connecting themselves illegally and they will not pay for electricity.”

Not sustainable

The South African Local Government Association – an association comprised of 257 local governments – however does not think that a flat rate would work. Spokesperson Sivuyile Mbambato told Fin24 that the proposal was “unsustainable”.

“We do not have the luxury of cheap and excess electricity like we did more than 20 years ago. Everyone must pay for what they use,” he said.

Salga is supportive of a prepaid solution. “Prepaid will be the answer in Soweto and other townships but the residents still reject that. This is an indication of how deep is the culture on non-payment in our communities,” said Mbambato.

The association’s National Executive Committee met last week to discuss solutions for rising municipal debt, among other issues.

The NEC resolved that a two-phased approach be implemented to address rising debt, according to a statement issued by Salga last week.

Phase 1 puts forward stricter enforcement by municipalities on credit control measures. This means municipalities will have to target government properties and businesses, through disconnection if there is “sufficient merit” in line with their credit control policies, the statement read.

Phase 2 involves an analysis of debt to classify debt which must be written off, or is realistically collectable.

The proposal comes after a period in which Salga interacted with various parliamentary portfolio committees on matters relating to debt owed by municipalities.


Source Article from https://www.fin24.com/Economy/Eskom/sowetans-should-pay-flat-rate-of-r150month-for-electricity-it-will-foster-payment-culture-says-anc-councillor-20191113
Sowetans should pay flat rate of R150/month for electricity – it will foster payment culture, says ANC councillor
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City of Tshwane to probe corruption allegations over Hammanskraal water supply

The City of Tshwane promised to launch investigations into
allegations about officials soliciting bribes in the drought stricken
Hammanskraal.

The City was reacting to allegations tabled by members of the ANC Youth League,
who claimed some workers are demanding bribes from service providers for
them to be outsourced by the City.

The DA’s Abel Tau requested acting city manager, Moeketsi Ntsimane, to direct
the Forensic and Investigation Services Division to probe the alleged
corruption.

“As an administration that promotes openness and honesty, it is imperative
that we get to the bottom of these allegations of corruption, without fear or
favour. If these claims are found to be true, the corrupt individuals will face
the wrath of the law”, said Tau.

Tau called on residents to be on the look-out for unscrupulous people driving
around in water tankers selling water in the area.

“The City would like to put it on record that we are not charging anyone for
water that we are providing through the water tankers.

“No consumer is supposed to pay any amount of money to anyone who is
contracted to the City to provide water in the area.”

Customers are advised to contact the local City’s regional offices should they
be approached or spot a driver of a water tanker selling water.

Source Article from https://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/city-of-tshwane-to-probe-corruption-allegations-over-hammanskraal-water-supply-20191123
City of Tshwane to probe corruption allegations over Hammanskraal water supply
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Despite stage 2 water restrictions, Joburg residents are still not complying

While stage 2 water restrictions are in place in the City of Johannesburg, it does not seem as if residents are complying. 

The member of the mayoral committee for the environment and infrastructure services, Nico de Jager, said there had been an alarming increase in water usage as residents dealt with heatwaves and late rainfall. 

“Over the past couple of years, our demand was on average 1 553ml per day. This is not ideal, but can be sustained. However, a drastic increase to 1 684ml per day has recently been recorded, likely due to heatwaves and late rainfall. This is well over our licenced allocation as well as the historical water demand. This is simply not sustainable and will cause water supply interruptions.”

De Jager said due to high demand and consumption, Rand Water, which supplies bulk water, had implemented stage 2 water restrictions in Johannesburg.

The City’s licenced water allocation is 1 322ml per day from Rand Water.

Areas identified with high water demands include Midrand, Johannesburg Central and South, Soweto, Orange Farm, Ennerdale, and Lenasia.

“Although not the highest consumers, residents in areas like Sandton, Roodepoort and Randburg should also reduce their demand to help overall demand reduction and create stability in the bulk supply system.

“Johannesburg Water is regulating reservoirs at a rate of 20 to 40% in line with restrictions by Rand Water. We need all hands on deck to ensure that we reduce consumption in order to protect the infrastructure.

“Furthermore, Johannesburg Water has placed a high emphasis on sustainable service delivery by investing in marginal areas with 22 project valued at R99.6m in Orange Farm, Diepsloot, Ivory Park, Soweto and Ennerdale,” De Jager said.

Residents have been warned to reduce the frequency of watering their gardens because the system is still vulnerable. They should refrain from watering them between 06:00 and 18:00.

Source Article from https://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/despite-stage-2-water-restrictions-joburg-residents-are-still-not-complying-20191101
Despite stage 2 water restrictions, Joburg residents are still not complying
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UPDATE | Emergency measures put in place at Jubilee Hospital to deal with water crisis

Jubilee Hospital in Hammanskraal, Gauteng, has put measures in place – in the form of changes to operations – to deal with its water crisis.

The public hospital, as well as the surrounding community, has been dealing with water shortages since October 25.

“The hospital has been receiving water frequently through tanks since the interruption of water supply,” Gauteng Department of Health spokesperson Kwara Kekana said in a statement on Thursday.

Health MEC Bandile Masuku paid a visit to the hospital on Wednesday afternoon to assess the impact of the water crisis on the hospital and its operations, as well as to provide support to staff and patients.

“We acknowledge and commend the hard work being put by hospital staff during this period. Our priority is to ensure that there is no further interruption of services,” Masuku said.

ALSO READ:  Water tankers continue to supply Hammanskraal residents

As a result of the crisis, the hospital has been receiving water frequently from tanks and the maternity section and theatres have been closed, with only walk-ins being treated at the facility.

“Emergency operations have been transferred to Odi [District] Hospital, with additional help provided by sister hospitals in the Tshwane district,” Kekana said.

In addition, arrangements have been made with the South African National Defence Force (Walmansthal base) to supply the hospital with water through tankers. 

“Service points that are affected will be operational as soon as running water becomes available,” Kekana said.

Source Article from https://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/update-emergency-measures-put-in-place-at-jubilee-hospital-to-deal-with-water-crisis-20191107
UPDATE | Emergency measures put in place at Jubilee Hospital to deal with water crisis
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Water supply to Hammanskraal restored as Temba purification plant is fixed

The water supply has been restored to Hammanskraal, City of Tshwane Mayor Stevens Mokgalapa has announced.

This after the suburb was without water following a temporary shutdown of the Temba water treatment plant by the City’s utility services department last week.

The shutdown was as a result of raw water quality from the Leeukraal Dam, News24 previously reported.

The Temba purification plant’s operations were affected by a lightning strike at the Rooiwal waste water treatment plant which had an impact on the water supply. 

“The City will resume the process of withdrawing 66 water tankers that were delivered to Hammanskraal. This was done as an emergency measure because of insufficient water,” Mokgalapa said.

One of the most affected sites has been Jubilee Hospital which ended up having to put measures in place – in the form of changes to operations – to deal with its water crisis, News24 reported on Wednesday

Health MEC Bandile Masuku visited the hospital on Wednesday afternoon to assess the impact of the water crisis on the hospital. 

Residents have been urged to be patient as the reservoirs are still filling up. The process may delay the levels of water running from taps. 

The City has apologised for the inconvenience caused to residents. 

Source Article from https://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/water-supply-to-hammanskraal-restored-as-temba-purification-plant-is-fixed-20191107
Water supply to Hammanskraal restored as Temba purification plant is fixed
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Kenya: Meru Puts on Notice Banks, Supermarkets Without Toilets

Meru County has threatened to close down supermarkets and banks that will not have toilet facilities by January next year, in a bid to promote health.

Meru Health Executive Misheck Mutuma said they had issued the financial institutions with notices to comply following complaints.

Meru town alone has about 35 commercial banks and saccos, with many more in towns and markets in the nine sub counties.

Addressing members of public at Mitunguu Health centre, Mr Mutuma said they were committed to ensuring they minimized the number of diseases associated with dirt and withholding the call of nature.

“We are giving them a notice, by January, if they do not comply, we will request them to be closed,” said the CEC.

CAUSE FOR DISEASE

County director of public health John Inanga said banks and supermarkets were a major cause of bladder, rectum and bowel ailments since customers had to withhold calls of nature until they were served.

He wants the business premises to provide properly marked toilets for both sexes and people with disabilities.

Mr Inanga said they had started inspections of the institutions and had realized that most banks and supermarkets were reluctant to provide the facilities claiming it would be a security risk.

He proposed that the institutions should come up with booths just like the ATMs where customers could relieve themselves.

Mr Mutuma warned that next year, the county government would not issue any licenses to any hotel which does not have a toilet.

He said Meru could not realize any development if residents spent most of their money on seeking medication due to diseases caused by dirty environments.

During the function, 35 villages were declared free of open defecation while 11 others await assessment.

Mr Mutuma also said they had strengthened the capacity of the public health department to check flour and nuts to ensure they were free of aflatoxin.

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Kenya: Meru Puts on Notice Banks, Supermarkets Without Toilets
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Africa: Floods: Rain Dividends Can Stop Future Drought Crises

Since June, more than 2.5 million people have faced flooding disasters across Africa. Some of the hardest hit countries include Kenya, the Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, Somalia, Sudan, Ethiopia, Niger, Ghana, Cameroon, Tanzania and the Central African Republic.

The most recent disaster happened in Kenya on 23 November, when unusually heavy rains killed dozens.

Many of the communities in these countries are in double jeopardy, as drought and floods are affecting them at the same time. In Somalia, families that were still experiencing the impact of a debilitating drought early this year, were recently watching their homes, crops and livestock getting washed away from heavy rains that have sparked widescale flooding.

It’s a recurrent vicious cycle spanning decades, and we need to act before the bleak scenarios put forward by experts increasingly become inevitable, including the complete inability of these communities to cope with this destructive cycle of drought and flooding.

While we are gradually teetering on the edge of a worrying scenario, there is a silver lining to these recurrent violent rains: we can take advantage of them to protect communities from the next drought.

There are three simple ways in which it is possible to break this destructive drought-flood cycle.

Firstly, disaster preparedness cannot be overstated. While we cannot entirely prevent floods and droughts, with better preparedness, we can reduce their impact dramatically. A recent report by IFRC, “The Cost of Doing Nothing”, estimates that, by 2030, the funding requirement to support everyone who needs assistance after climate-related disasters could balloon to $20 billion per year. However, the same IFRC report estimates that with determined and ambitious action, the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance as a result of climate-related disasters annually could also decrease by 90 per cent by 2050.

Secondly, we need to rethink and redouble our efforts in water storage and rain harvesting. Communities across East Africa have collected rainwater using traditional reservoirs for decades. Typical water harvesting methods include berkads in Somalia and birkas in Ethiopia, which are low-tech water reservoirs used in arid areas to collect water during the wet season for future use. Red Cross and Red Crescent teams in Ethiopia and Somalia have been working to ensure that water in berkads and birkas is safe for consumption. During the 2017-2018 drought, Red Crescent teams helped over 8000 families in Somalia to rehabilitate 95 berkads. There are other simple methods such as using water tanks to harvest roof water. For families whose homes have roofs designed to harvest water, this approach is very affordable and effective. A 10,000-litre tank can help a family of six transition safely from one rainy season to the next. These local solutions are not new, but with investment, they can be upgraded and introduced to places where they didn’t exist before.