Water services’ challenges remain an eyesore

SEKHUKHUNE – As Sekhukhune district communities continue to face the nightmare of the unavailability of water and sanitation services, the district municipality council’s fifth administration reiterates on its commitment to provide sustainable clean drinking water.

The residents in the district are currently subjected to inhumane conditions of being forced to share water with animals at available sources, such as wells, streams and drenches, a situation they deem as a serious threat to their health.

The residents, in the unemployment riddled district, are further taking a knock in their pockets as they have to purchase water from those selling the commodity from their yard boreholes.

The predicament has been met with protests across the district in the previous years as the angry residents intended to register their grievances to Sekhukhune District Municipality (SDM), which is a water authority, over lack of water services.

Addressing the media recently, SDM acknowledged that its Department of Infrastructure and Water Services (IWS) was the heartbeat of the district municipality.

According the SDM the department lies at the heart of its mandate, which is to provide sustainable clean drinking water and sanitation to its communities.

Following the election of the SDM’s fifth administration into office, to prioritise the department, three Members of the Mayoral Committee (MMCs) were appointed to the IWS portfolio, namely MMC Bella Kupa, deputized by MMC Jan Mohlala and MMC Mariam Malatji.

According to SDM the three MMCs have, in their early days in office, traversed the length and breadth of the district on a fact-finding mission about all its water schemes and projects to have a better understanding of all the challenges faced by communities in terms of water provision.

SDM Executive Mayor, Julia Mathebe recently indicated that a draft turnaround strategy or the proposed integrated and aligned delivery of water services was presented to the mayoral committee.

Executive Mayor Mathebe said that the draft strategy proposed measures needed to implement the delayed and stalled water schemes and projects, among other things.

“Also, it seeks to optimize the expenditure of capital grants. The draft strategy will soon be presented to council for approval and we are confident that if properly implemented, it will change our trajectory,” added Mathebe.

She further said that in the current administration’s first 100 days, an audit of bulk water schemes and projects and a list of delayed projects has been done and that the turnaround strategy on how to unlock De Hoop water scheme has been presented in the mayoral committee.

“We will soon hand over the Mooi Hoek project 4G2. This will be done once the planned inspection on the final project has been completed. We will continue addressing the sewage in Leeuwfontein, Motetema and Praktiseer,” indicated Mathebe.

IWS MMC Bella Kupa identified ageing infrastructure, hindrance of water projects by community members and illegal connections as some of the challenges the department faced in the provision of water.

The massively challenged IWS division has once again received a lion’s share of the district municipality’s total revenue expenditure budget.

The district municipality’s 2022/23 total revenue budget is R1,700 billion and of this, R1,230 billion is allocated for total operating revenue.

During the IDP budget presentation at Klopper Village recently, Executive Mayor Mathebe, informed that the district municipality’s total expenditure was at R489 million and that of the total capital revenue, R469 million was from capital grants, while R20 million was from the municipality’s own revenue sources.

IWS has been allocated R571,510 million, which is nearly half of the municipality’s total revenue expenditure.

 

Thapelo Motseo

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