With South Africa in the grip of drought, new data published by StatsSA shows that municipalities are struggling to fill funded posts in their water management departments.
The role of local municipalities to provide clean water, maintain infrastructure, and reduce wastage has become more important than ever, StatsSA said.
The current drought is expected to continue into the new year, and has lead the City of Johannesburg to implement level two water restrictions, on Monday.
Level two restrictions mean:
- No watering and irrigating gardens between 06:00 and 18:00
- No filling of swimming pools
- No using of hose pipes to wash cars, paved areas, etc.
Level three would entail supply of water at stipulated times a day, namely, only in the mornings and in the evenings at times to be announced, not unsimilar to electricity load shedding.
Municipalities in Free State seem the least capable of filling water related posts, according to Stats SA’s latest Non-financial census of municipalities report.
The province recorded a vacancy rate of 24,4% in 2014. Of the 3,415 posts available in departments involved in water purification and water infrastructure, 833 were vacant.
Eastern Cape municipalities, on the other hand, recorded the lowest provincial vacancy rate (9,9%), with 626 out of 6,294 posts left unfilled.
The vacancy rate nation-wide for water related posts was 13%: 43,998 posts were available, of which 5,723 were vacant.
This rate was lower than the overall vacancy rate of 14,6% for all municipal posts, the study said.
The map below shows where vacancy rates were the highest in water management departments.
Tokologo Local Municipality in Free State topped the list (70.8%) in 2014. In second place was Westonaria in Gauteng (65.3%), followed by Polokwane in Limpopo (63.5%).