My late cousin who lived in Marondera, Zimbabwe, used to say that on a good day they might have six hours of water and electricity. Otherwise, there were periods of three days when one or both necessities were not available.
Since March 9, there have been seven occasions when water has not been available for anything from three hours to over 20 hours in the Grosvenor section of the Bluff. But those experiences have been eclipsed by five days of no water since April 12 with still no certainty as of April 17 when flow will be re-established. So it seems our Zimbabwe experience is well underway.
Be that as it may, the situation is the result of decades of poor maintenance and the failure to upgrade and renew pipelines and equipment. The loss of 55% of eThekwini’s water through leaks and theft speaks for itself. Yet a 15% tariff increase is proposed for the next financial year.
The only people scoring from the water debacle are the plumbers. But then they are probably more qualified than Mr Ednick Msweli who heads Metro Water. He has a degree in business administration but no engineering qualification which is required for the post he holds, as Malcolm Mitchell noted on April 12.