LEEUWFONTEIN – Dismay among residents of Leeuwfontein outside Marble Hall within the Ephraim Mogale Local Municipality over Sekhukhune District Municipality’s (SDM) failure to address their plight of lack of access to water services rages on.
The residents lambasted the district municipality’s stance on the problem of lack of access to water they have had to endure for years.
They accuse SDM of inept and lack of interest in seeing to it that water problems in the area that date back years ago are addressed.
Angry residents in the area partook in several fierce protests in the recent past in an attempt to have their water services challenges attended to but nothing has been done by the district municipality to help them out of their predicament.
They say they have had several meetings with the SDM following their protests but those meetings were reduced to talk-shows as no action by the district municipality followed.
In a recent meeting with the SDM, in which the executive Mayor, Stanley Ramaila, was present, a number of agreements were made but still have not been implemented by the district municipality.
The meeting agreed to the establishment of an oversight committee on water services, the removal of illegal connections, the installation of storage tanks at strategic points in the area to assist the residents in the interim, the rehabilitation or development of boreholes and the feasibility of the construction of a pipeline from Leeuwfontein package plant to Leeuwfontein reservoirs, but all the agreements, processes of which were to be led by the SDM, which were to be implemented from mid February to end March, are yet to be implemented.
However, Isaac Mahlakwane, Acting SDM Mayoral Spokesperson, said the following the recent meeting, processes were currently being embarked on to find solutions to water services problems in the area.
Contrary to allegations that the oversight committee was not operational, Mahlakwane said the committee had meetings with officials of the district municipality on a weekly basis.
Mahlakwane said the oversight committee and the officials could not meet for two weeks because there were no issues to report on.
With regard to the issue of removal of illegal water connections in the area, Mahlakwane informed that it was agreed that there would be no tempering with the said connections without an alternative for people to have access to water.
“There was a delay in the approval of the budget adjustment by council, but it was approved in a council meeting at the end of February. On the issue of storage tanks, Infrastructure Water Services (IWS) is in the procurement process of the water storage tanks, 20 of them in number. Another issue is the testing of the identified boreholes on whether they are still having water and that process should not take long. 10 boreholes were identified for refurbishment, which are located in Moganyaka. Water tankers will deliver water at the strategically placed storage tanks on a weekly basis,” explained Mahlakwane.
But the residents, who are currently forced to buy water or fetch from trenches, neighbouring wells and streams they share with animals, a situation threatening their health and safety, continue to denounce SDM’s approach to their predicament of lack of access to water services.
Kgobise Setlamorago, a community leader, said SDM was defiant to face the real problem facing water services in the area.
Setlamorago said it was established that the areas’ package plant, which supplies water to the reservoirs, was not operating according to its specifications, which massively contributed to the problems in the area.
“The package plant is supposed to operate at 1500 megalitres but it was reduced to a 1000 megalitres. Following one of the protests in the area, a team from SDM was sent to the plant to fix that problem but they made the situation worse and reduced it to 500 megalitres. That is the real problem in the area with regard to lack of water services,” concluded Setlamorago.