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“We need political stability to get to economic stability,” Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber CEO Denise van Huyssteen tells Peter Bruce as they chart their way through Gqeberha’s approaching water crisis.

Yes, while there is no water already in many city taps, and while some local dams have run dry due to years of drought, the fact is Gqeberha has a water management problem rather than an absence of water.

The problem is politics. The city has been run by unstable and squabbling coalitions since 2016, chasing the last remaining engineers and artisans out of their jobs. Now the chickens have come home to roost.

In theory, enough water can be pumped into the city from the Gariep Dam hundreds of kilometres away, but work is behind schedule and key pump stations don’t work. Load-shedding doesn’t help. Van Huyssteen has finally persuaded the council to allow businesses to fix leaking pipes, broken substations and other infrastructure. but it is late in the day. If this doesn’t work, nothing will.

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