MunicipalNews

Water crisis now a harsh reality

THE new MEC for cooperative governance, human settlement and traditional affairs (Coghsta), Makoma Makhurupetja, should place underperforming municipalities like Ba-Phalaborwa and Thabazimbi under administration, according to DA Limpopo leader Jacques Smalle.

THE new MEC for cooperative governance, human settlement and traditional affairs (Coghsta), Makoma Makhurupetja, should place underperforming municipalities like Ba-Phalaborwa and Thabazimbi under administration, according to DA Limpopo leader Jacques Smalle.

He said these municipalities failed to pay service providers like Eskom and the Lepelle Northern Water Board on time as prescribed by the Public Financial Management Act.

Smalle addressed the media on Monday and said some municipalities had opted to reduce their water supply by 30% in an effort to clear this debt. He said this could lead to a water crisis for residents of Modjadjiskloof, Greater Tzaneen and Ba-Phalaborwa.

“In Ba-Phalaborwa, the municipality stopped paying both the water board and Eskom from August last year,” he said.

“It is clear that municipal management is unable to deal with this financial crisis. They have yet to inform the relevant departments about this problem.”

“In Thabazimbi the municipality owes Eskom more than R54 million. Their failure to pay on time could lead to Eskom switching off electricity in some areas within the municipal boundaries. This will have a severe economical and social effect,” Smalle said.

“Local government is closest to the people in terms of service delivery and it is therefore imperative that it is managed properly.

“The most disturbing aspect about this is that it will be the communities who suffer because of the lacklustre performance by the municipal officials.”

Smalle said the DA would write to the MEC to ask him to place these municipalities under administration by implementing section 139 of the South African constitution with immediate effect.

Coghsta spokesperson, Motupa Selomo, said the department had deployed an assessment team to Thabazimbi to investigate these issues and their decision will be determined by the outcome of the investigation.

“We have experienced no serious issues In Ba-Phalaborwa, but the department will keep an eye on this municipality,” Selomo said.

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