The Minister of Water and Sanitation, Senzo Mchunu has announced the dissolution of the Amatola Water Board and the appointment of a seven-member interim Board whose tenure will be for a period of five months.Minister Mchunu made the announcement on 25 March 2022, during the Ministry’s stakeholder engagements with amongst others, the Eastern Cape Provincial Leadership and the Business Sector, in East London. Minister Mchunu said the Ministry of Water and Sanitation was deeply concerned about the instability and governance challenges at Amatola Water as an entity, which had in turn, affected the provision of water to communities in the Buffalo City Metropolitan area. He also said water supply by Amatola Water had been far below the growing demand in various parts of the province, stressing that this situation was indeed untenable. In further expanding on the appointment of an interim Board, the Minister said that the interim Board would bring about stability to the water entity in terms of its finances and governance and would also extend the mandate of dealing with issues of water in the entire province.
The news of dissolving Amatola Water Board was well received by the Provincial Government, and the Executive Mayors from Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality, Amathole District Municipality, and Ndlambe Local Government, including Organised Labour (South African Municipal Workers’ Union).Xolile Nqatha, the MEC of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs in the Eastern Cape expressed his appreciation for the intervention by Minister Mchunu, stating that the interim water board would be critical in making decisions that will work towards the renewal of the entity. Minister Mchunu also issued a plea to Organised Labour, stating that in order for the entity to be fully functional and capacitated, the Board and management would have to have their support: “We are pleading with you to constructively contribute to the stabilisation of Amatola Water. Do not allow yourselves to be drawn to issues that do not support the renewal of the entity. Let us all ensure that we make a difference in the lives of the people of the Eastern Cape”. The Ministry also interacted with members of the community in Dimbaza, who stressed that the Ministry’s problems with Amatola Water should not negatively affect them as residents as the case had been, further emphasising that water – as a constitutional right – was also life, as per the department’s mantra. An evening meeting was convened, where members of the interim Board were introduced to the management team of Amatola Water and the Department of Water and Sanitation.