Plumbing creates leak in uMngeni’s finances

Councillors are demanding that officials plug a leak in their finances after uMngeni Municipality spent around R160,000 on plumbing repairs in two months.

The money was paid to a single supplier — Mayesa Trading Enterprise — to repair the flushing system in the women’s toilet at the Hilton Library; install a geyser and replace the flushing system at Mpophomeni Library; install two new sink taps, unblock sewers and replace a sink waste and trap at Gray’s Court; replace stolen pipes at Gray’s Court; replace the flushing system at the Howick swimming pool; install a new geyser at the Howick West Library; and install a new geyser and replace showers at the indoor sports centre.

The company also unblocked sewers at the Mpophomeni Library and did general repairs at the museum and swimming pool in Howick.

Unacceptable to spend so much money on plumbing

Speaking at a meeting of the full council last week, speaker Janis Holmes said it is unacceptable to spend so much money on plumbing and to see no tangible benefits.

“I’m here in the municipal office and various municipal staff have told me that things come and get fixed but then are not working the next day,” she said.

We heard an explanation that there was an advert for a panel of plumbers that went out. I have never seen it. When was that advertise published and how long was it published for? The amount of money we spend on plumbing is unacceptable. The fact that we have only one plumber on our database is unacceptable. This definitely needs further investigation. We can’t go on like this.

Holmes was also concerned about the number of blockages which had to be sorted out because the sewer system is not being used properly.

Are we putting up signage in all our municipal toilets, whether they are public or for staff use, about what can and can’t be flushed down toilets?

Nkosinathi Ngubane, manager of administration support, told councilors that the municipality hopes to be able to reduce the money spent on outside contractors once the post of general maintenance worker is filled. He warned, however, that the R1 million budget allocated to maintenance and repairs for this financial year might not be sufficient.

Ngubane said:

… we are saying that by mid-term period we probably won’t have enough money to do repairs and we are banking on that review to help us continue doing repairs, especially those which are of an emergency nature.

In his report he said the biggest problem is that many of the municipal facilities are old and in need of replacement.

Under the current situation of inadequate budget availability and allocation, only the prioritization of the most needy facilities and repairs remains the way to go until such time that sufficient funds are available to do the necessary repairs and replacement of the municipality’s facilities.

The projects which are earmarked for 2022/2023 include: installing fencing and doing general repairs at the Mpophomeni community hall; and renovating facilities at the Lidgetton community hall.

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