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Senzo Mchunu, Minister of Water and Sanitation of South Africa, has urged local municipalities to focus on the water infrastructure maintenance in their respective areas to ensure uninterrupted water supply.

The minister's statement came during a joint Imbizo, an initiative of all spheres of government, held at the King Zwelithini Stadium in Umlazi on Wednesday aimed at finding solutions to fix the interrupted water supply to the communities in several parts including Umlazi and eThekwini.

The event was attended by Mxolisi Kaunda, Executive Mayor of eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality, and Bongi Sithole-Moloi, Member of the KwaZulu-Natal Executive Council.

Mchunu slammed the local authorities noting that if they had done the basic maintenance of the infrastructure, then the water supply issues would have been easily solved.

"The problems that we have currently, can be resolved and resolved quite urgently if we go back to the basics. Our infrastructure has a life span and we need to take serious care of it before it is too late," Mchunu said, according to SA News.

The minister said that the municipalities should not allow their infrastructure to reach its life span and act proactively to ensure that everything is in order.

"We are where we are because people are too relaxed at times and only react when there are problems," he said. "We need to accelerate the pace in which we do things [and] where there are issues, we need to be decisive and a sense of urgency is needed."

He noted that the local authorities can't relax when communities don't have water, adding that it is time to implement what's required with speed to ensure that the mandate of providing people with adequate water supply is fulfilled.

In response, Kaunda assured the minister that eThekwini Municipality is doing everything possible to fix the water crisis and urged provincial and national governments to provide the necessary support.

Kaunda also addressed the concerns about the quality of water in the city, reiterating that water gets tested twice a week by the city and independent scientists to ensure compliance with quality standards.

He further urged residents to work with the city and pay for services rendered to them so that the revenue collected can be reinvested.

"We are regulated by provincial and national spheres of government in our constitutional mandate as the Water Service Authority and we acknowledge our role and responsibility. We cannot do this alone. We need all the support that we can get, with capacity and resources," Kaunda said.

Meanwhile, uMngeni-uThukela Water and the eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality signed a short-term operation and maintenance contract to ensure proper maintenance of wastewater.

Under the contract, uMngeni-uThukela Water will operate wastewater works owned by eThekwini and two pump stations deemed critical and this represents 90% of the effluent that the city treats.

"uMngeni-uThukela Water has been working on priority projects to urgently improve compliance and has since delivered chemicals necessary for treatment in all the waste water works needing chemicals and is currently spreading the refurbishment of infrastructure," Kaunda added.