eThekwini’s Flawed Plan: Buying 100 Water Tankers Instead of Investing in Infrastructure

The fleet of 55 water tankers that was purchased by the City last year Now it adds 100 more Picture Supplied

The eThekwini Municipality plans to purchase 100 additional water tankers, costing R1,476,025 each, resulting in a total expenditure of R147,602,500. This decision comes amidst ongoing water shortages and infrastructure issues that have caused widespread disruptions. The investment in water tankers seems to be a short-term solution, diverting significant funds from potentially addressing the root causes of the water supply problems.

Critics argue that this approach prioritises a temporary fix over long-term infrastructure improvement. With R147,602,500, the municipality could fund extensive repairs or upgrades to the existing water supply infrastructure, reducing the need for such a large number of water tankers in the first place.

In contrast, the eThekwini Municipality has allocated R56 million to upgrade the Ntuzuma Pump Station, a project designed to bring relief to the communities of Inanda, Lindelani, Mancinza, eTafuleni, and parts of KwaMashu. This significant investment demonstrates a commitment to improving infrastructure and enhancing water distribution systems. However, when compared to the proposed expenditure on water tankers, it seems insufficient.

Similarly, the Emona Reservoir, commissioned in December last year, cost R43 million, serving to supply water to Motala Farm Housing Development and the proposed phase 2 of Sun Hills Housing Development. Again, this investment represents a meaningful step towards resolving infrastructure issues, but its cost is far less than the proposed spending on water tankers.

Given these figures, the proposed expenditure of R147,602,500 on water tankers seems extravagant, especially when other infrastructure projects that would have a more lasting impact are funded with significantly smaller budgets. The decision to invest heavily in water tankers indicates a focus on temporary solutions and limiting outsourcing to smaller businesses rather than addressing the underlying issues. Critics suggest that this approach does not resolve the root cause of water shortages and may lead to continued reliance on a flawed system.

Note: I used the figures of these tankers from one source. Given the figure we have supplied, it gives you an idea of what one would approximately cost.

About Author