Pretoria – The furore which erupted over the weekend could have been avoided if the City of Tshwane had properly managed the compulsory water restrictions, Rand Water has said.
Water supply to communities west of Pretoria was cut off from Saturday, leaving residents angry and feeling like “second class” citizens.
“The city should have managed it properly to avoid confusion,” Rand Water spokesman Justice Mohale told the Pretoria News.
He said Rand Water convened technical meetings in Joburg every Monday and representatives from the city were always among the participants. The meetings discussed, among other issues, water restrictions, he said.
Mohale said all municipalities in the province participated in the throttling exercise, launched by the Department and Water and Sanitation in an effort to save dwindling water resources. Municipalities are supposed to take 15% from water supplied to residents.
Laudium residents had their water cut off without prior notice on Saturday, and this threw them into a frenzy, demanding answers and the immediate restoration of the service.
In his response to social media queries on Sunday afternoon, mayor Solly Msimanga said: “We are aware and working on the water problem in Laudium. The problem is a result of over-throttling from Rand Water as part of the restrictions.”
But that explanation was rejected by the residents, who said the city would have known before implementation. “We would have been warned and told to prepare,” a resident said at a public meeting to discuss the water situation in Laudium. The residents held an emergency meeting, where they said 36 hours without water, with no official explanation, was a sign of disrespect.
They said it was a service delivery and human rights violation and wanted the mayor to address them on the matter. The municipality acknowledged the lack of water in the area and dispatched 10 tankers of 10 000 litres each to the affected communities, adding four more by Monday morning.
City spokesman Lindela Mashigo said reservoirs had become low by Saturday. When water started trickling into the area Monday morning, he said: “The reservoir recovered a bit and managed to supply water to low lying areas.”
The high lying areas would battle until there was enough water to apply pressure upwards, he said. Night time when water use was very low would allow that, Mashigo added.@ntsandvose
The Mpumalanga water programme has provided water to a total of 24 villages in Bushbuckridge, benefiting 15 000 households in the municipality.
R298 million was spent on the programme, which was implemented in partnership with the Department of Water and Sanitation and Rand Water to provide water to rural communities with water shortages.
“A further R601 million is already being implemented as part of Phase 2 of the support to the municipality to benefit an additional 69 villages,” Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza said on Friday.
Speaking at the opening of the Mpumalanga House of Traditional Leaders, he said the provision of basic services such as water, sanitation, electricity and proper human settlements was key to improving the quality of lives in the country.
Premier Mabuza said municipalities have been tasked with ensuring that water supply is supplemented with boreholes within the next three to four months.
“Where boreholes exist but are non-functional, such boreholes shall be refurbished within the next three to four months in order to ensure that our people have access to water,” Premier Mabuza said.
The province has set aside R186.2 million to address backlogs for the electrification of households in the province for the 2015/16 financial year as part of the Integrated National Electrification Programme.
He said government was implementing the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme to create job opportunities for communities in rural and tribal areas while simultaneously providing food security.
Government had come up with the War on Leaks Programme, which is aimed at improving the sustainability of water supply.
“Youth development, through this programme, shall be key as those with minimum qualifications would not only enjoy access to job opportunities but would also benefit in our long-term skills development and refinement of technical expertise,” Premier Mabuza said.
He said the provincial government would continue to support, strengthen and capacitate all institutions of traditional leadership in the province to accelerate rural development, nation building and social cohesion within traditional communities.
“We will continue to provide capacity and equipping all our traditional leaders with the necessary skills to enable them to better manage, control and lead their councils with professionalism.
“Government will continue to support the capacity building programme for traditional leaders to empower them with the requisite skills and competencies to contribute to economic growth and community development programmes in our tribal communities,” Premier Mabuza said.
Source: All Africa
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