EMALAHLENI: The Democratic Alliance (DA) in eMalahleni Local Municipality, staged a picketing at the decommissioned water tower in Witbank on Monday 3 May 2021.
The party was complaining about sporadic water cuts taking place in the municipality, leaving thousands of residents without water for days.
Clive Hatch, DA eMalahleni Constituency Chairperson, said they have had enough of water cuts that have been going on for more than the past ten years. “The Democratic Alliance has organized this picket today to demonstrate our displeasure on the ongoing water crisis in eMalahleni, and also to allow the residents who are driving past to show their feelings about this ongoing situation,” he said. According to Hatch, for many years residents experience a dire situation that is repeated again and again, with no water supply for days, which gets repeated constantly.
Hatch said the matter was reported to the South African Human Rights (SAHRC), which found that the local municipality violated the rights of the residents whereas it has failed to take reasonable steps to provide the residents with sufficient and clean water. Hatch said instead of the problem being resolved, as accordance to the recommendations by SAHRC, the challenge of water has gone worse.
“Noting that the recommendations made in the report of the SAHRC have been implemented. We demand the executive mayor to table a plan of action to address water matters by 31 August 2021,” pleaded Hatch. He said among matters that needs executive mayor’s attention include challenges of unavailability of water in residential areas for up to seven days, leaks that are not repaired and resulting in thousands of litres of potable water being wasted, water tankers that are not being despatched to areas without water unless specifically requested and a need of sufficient information that has to be supplied on the reason or expected duration of the interruption in water supply. “The Democratic Alliance therefore, submitted a petition calling on SAHRC to investigate the continued abuse of human rights by the eMalahleni Local Municipality. A copy of the petition has once again been submitted to the parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation,” he said. eMalahleni Local Municipality Spokesperson, Lebohang Mofokeng, said the municipality is planning on water provisions and budgeting tools are developed and implemented to available resources within the its boundaries.
“The municipality is a water service authority and a provider with constitutional responsibility to provide quality water services to the communities and consumers,” he said.
Mofokong added that the municipality is process of engaging public and private sector to assist with water augmentation schemes to the municipality, to which to date, they have concluded three agreements with contractual obligation of about 44 Ml/day pumped into the municipal water system. “However the supply is constraint by a number of issues such as theft, vandalism of infrastructure, operational constraints, raw water quality, breakdowns and maintenance,” explained Mofokeng. He emphasised that in cases where there are interruptions, communication is made with concerned and affected communities to an extent that alternative arrangements of water provision by tankers is made. “This exercise is costly to the municipality and high social considerations. The department of water has been contacted, negotiations and requisites studies and reports are done in order for the consideration of increasing the water abstraction from the dam,” informed Mofokeng. He indicated that the main water treatment plant is undergoing refurbishment to improve operational efficiency and water quality. “We have concluded service level agreement with external service provider for the installation of additional 20Ml/day modular package plant, to augment water supply and is expected to be commissioned in six months,” detailed Mofokeng. He added that reports and recommendations of the Human Rights Commission are implemented to available resources as indicated and reported as such. “The reliable provision of water supply within the municipality is impacted and affected by the factors including high migration, urbanisation and densification, aged infrastructure, raw water quality, breakdowns, theft and vandalism of infrastructure and non-payment of municipal services,” Mofokeng said.

DA members picketing on the streets of Witbank in eMalahleni to complain about sporadic water cuts in the municipality


Leave a comment

Send a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *