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Rustenburg drowning in sewerage and residents are without water

By Norman Cloete Time of article published May 22, 2021

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Political parties and residents in Rustenburg, in the North, say they are drowning in sewerage and water shortages are now a part of their daily lives.

Frustrated residents laid the blame squarely at the feet of the ANC-led municipality, accusing the powers that be of turning a blind eye to the sewerage spills and water outages in various areas across the city.

Members of the EFF and the DA have joined forces to highlight the challenges of residents who now go without water for up to four days at a time.The parties said a public health crisis is looming in the area.

An EFF ward committee member, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said she teamed up with the DA to “address the poor service delivery in the town”.

DA councillor, Johan Cronje said in September last year, the party laid charges against the Rustenburg Local Municipality for contravening sections of the National Water Act, Act 36 of 1998.

According to Cronje, that matter was still under investigation and no feedback had been received. The party said it has been monitoring the performance of the municipality’s sanitation unit.

At least 475 sanitation complaints were reflected on the call centre call sheet regarding the blocked sewerage, spilling raw effluent onto streets and into the stormwater system, which eventually pollutes the Dorpspruit and Hex rivers.

“Upon enquiry, the sanitation unit informed us that the backlog is caused by insufficient resources. This is due to an alleged adjustment to the budget which stripped the sanitation unit of valuable resources.

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During the Adjustment budget tabled on March 30, R30 million was allocated for infrastructure purposes relating to water reticulation and electricity. It is now alleged that none of this capital is being made available towards sanitation,” said Cronje.

The DA said on two occasions they requested meetings with the municipal manager Victor Makona, giving him ten days in advance to prepare and twice Makona cancelled the meetings, citing health issues or other commitments.

“The municipality is in contravention of the National Water Management Act, the National Environmental Management Act, which states that unlawfully and intentionally or negligently commit any act or omission which detrimentally affects or is likely to detrimentally affect the environment, Section 24 of the Constitution and the Municipal Systems Act for failing to provide municipal services,” said Cronje.

Residents who spoke with Saturday Star said they were at their wits’ end.

“To tell you the truth, we are gatvol here in Geelhoutpark and surrounding areas. To be without water on a daily basis is ridiculous. We cannot clean our homes and wash ourselves. Sometimes the water goes off at 19H00 and only goes back on at 06H00. This has been going on since August last year.

“At times it drives us insane. If I had money, I would install a 1000Lt tank and pumps which cost around R5 500. I am a pensioner and simply don’t have the money,” said one resident.

A stay-at-home mother said she was fed up with the poor services they receive in the area.

“I had a sick child and we went without water for a whole week. We call the municipality but nobody answers and they read our messages but don’t reply. I also had a broken water pipe and it took a week and half before they came to fix it.

“I am so despondent. We pay but we don’t get the services. We have a right to have water,” said the woman.

Cronje said: “Usually in an election year, the ANC usually ups its game but this time around, they just don’t care. We are seeing the polar opposite in terms of services promised.”

Saturday Star sent media queries to Makona, spokesperson for the Rustenberg Municipality David Magae and the unit manager for sanitation, Ziyanda Mokone.

In a written reply, Magae said: “This is to confirm that I have received your email and I will respond to it. Monday's can be a bit crazy but accept my apology for not acknowledging i.,”

Mokone, in a one-line reply, said: “We do not have water crisis,” despite several questions posed to her.

No response was received from the Rustenburg Municipality at the time of publication, despite several messages to Makona, Magae and Mokone.

The Saturday Star

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