Johannebsurg - North West premier Thandi Modise and Water Affairs Minister Edna Molewa are to blame for the water problems in the Madibeng municipality, the Democratic Alliance said on Wednesday.
Party leader in the North West, Chris Hattingh, said the two officials had known about Madibeng's water problems for a long time, yet had failed to act.
Three councillors, including Madibeng mayor Poppy Mangongwa, resigned from their positions on Tuesday following the death of four people during protests over water in Mothutlung, near Brits.
“The real culprits are the ANC premier, Thandi Modise, who not only received a copy of the Madibeng ministerial report during February 2013 and deliberately failed to act on it, but also allowed poor service delivery, like we see in Madibeng, to take place all over North West.
“The same goes for Molewa, who has known about the situation in Madibeng for ages.”
Responding to Hattingh's claims, Modise's spokesman Lesiba Kgwele said the premier had enforced action in Madibeng years ago. Kgwele said Modise first called for an intervention in the municipality in 2009.
After the first intervention there were the elections. Then there was a technical issue as some of the old members had left the council, Kgwele explained. A follow-up intervention was done in 2011.
“The intervention in Madibeng was initiated by the premier,” said Kgwele.
When this intervention was met by resistance, the co-operative governance and traditional affairs department intervened.
Kgwele said an inter-ministerial team was then brought in, but it reported that there was obstruction and resistance from the municipality.
“Modise has been fighting corruption across the province and the DA has never supported her,” said Kgwele.
“Their silence in the province on issues of corruption has been deafening.”
Kgwele said the premier had done all she could to resolve the issues in Madibeng.
Molewa's spokesman Sputnik Ratau said the minister had done all that was required of her.
“There would be no rationale for her to step down,” said Ratau.
“She has done what is expected of her and has called for a probe into the background of the situation,” said Ratau, adding that the minister had fulfilled her political duties.
Meanwhile, Matshidiso Mangoathe was appointed as the new mayor of Madibeng. Water supply had been restored to most parts of Madibeng by the weekend.