Alex Japho Matlala
2 minute read
29 Aug 2019
6:20 am

The pong plaguing Polokwane to be plugged after R2.6bn injection

Alex Japho Matlala

For months, Polokwane residents had to endure the smell of sewage wafting over the city because the waste water treatment plant was spilling waste.

Welcome to Polokwane. Picture: Facebook

An overwhelming stench coming from an old, dilapidated waste treatment plant in Polokwane will soon be a thing of the past following a R2.6-billion injection from the national department of water and sanitation.

For months, Polokwane residents had to endure the smell of sewage wafting over the city because the waste water treatment plant was spilling waste due to it being dilapidated and ageing.

The mayor of Polokwane, Tembi Nkadimeng, said the old plant had reached its carrying capacity because the city’s population had grown by leaps and bounds.

“The city has grown not only in size, but also in population,” she said. “We are now experiencing an average growth of between 2% and 3%.

“This saw our population growing between 2010 and 2018 from 700,000 to 1.1-million people.”

Nkadimeng, who is also president for the South African Local Government Association, said many people had moved with their children from rural areas to the city in search of work.

“They come and settle here after getting jobs and build houses in and around the city.

“It is public knowledge that the more people urbanise, the more services are needed for them. That is why we appointed four contractors to build a new waste treatment plant to accommodate the population of the city.

“The funds for the construction of the plant come from the grant,” said Nkadimeng, who added that work on the plant was already reaching the completion stage.

“We are expecting the plant to be completed soon. So, the bad stench, which gave our people sleepless nights, would soon become water under the bridge,” she added.

Nkadimeng said some of the R2.6 billion grant would also be channelled to water reticulation, drilling new boreholes and refurbishing old ones, replacing old asbestos pipes with new ones and making sure that water, an important basic human need, reached all the people of Polokwane city.

Nkadimeng last week visited projects in Mankweng, Ga-Chuene, Ga-Maja, Ga-Makanye and Solomondale. Most of the projects involved road construction, upgrading from gravel to tar, and from gravel to paving.

“We had a total annual budget of R3.6 billion,” she said. “Of the total budget, we spent R2.8 billion for projects and spent 98% of the money.

“We are, indeed, having a good story to tell because most of these roads remained gravel since the establishment of the city.

“The projects did not only bring better roads to our communities, but also created much-needed jobs for our people.”

alexm@citizen.co.za

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