While addressing the crowd Mr Mpahlwa said the water crisis in Makhanda was a result of a drought and that they had serious challenges as a municipality. “If the government structures are not in place, the problem will not go away. We need qualified engineers in the department to solve the issue”. He also stated they are working on drilling 20 boreholes that would produce 5 million litres of water a day for the next two years.
Also on the panel was the Director at the Department of Water Affairs, Andrew Lucas. Mr Lucas stated that there was a backlog in service delivery in South Africa. “The implementation of projects takes times, we need to find proactive ways to speed up projects”. He also stated that grants should be injecting funding to the Makhanda Municipality to increase service delivery as the infrastructure was currently poorly maintained.
Dr Nosiphiwe Ngqwala, a Senior Lecturer in the Pharmacy Department at Rhodes University said it was the government’s responsibility to provide quality service to its citizens. “It is the government’s responsibility to inform the community on the decisions taken to solve the water crisis”. She suggested hiring local engineers to assist with the problem instead of flying engineers from Johannesburg to fix pipes in Makhanda.
The audience raised grievances on how the solutions being offered were temporary and wanted to what was done with the funding that was allocated to the municipality. Mr Mpahlwa also reassured the crowd that there long term plans being made such as hiring young engineers who would be mentored by highly skilled engineers to take over when the time came.