DA lays criminal charges against officials of Ngwathe Municipality

24 Aug 2021 in Press Statements

Note to Editors: Please find the attached soundbites in English and Afrikaans by Mariette Pittaway MPL, DA Constituency Head for Ngwathe.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) yesterday laid criminal charges against the Municipal Manager, Mr Bruce William Kannemeyer, and the Director of Technical Services, Mr Thami Malunga, of the Ngwathe Local Municipality for their joint failure to deliver water to its residents and who continue to suffer water supply problems for the fifth week in a row now.

This action was taken after the DA councillors in Ngwathe had since 18 July 2021 interacted with the Municipal Manager and the Director of Technical Services, but to no avail. The DA councillors even offered their further assistance to the Ngwathe Local Municipality by agreeing to cover the cost of a leaking pipe that was indicated to be the cause of the persistent water problems.

During the past week, however, it was discovered that the true reason behind the water supply problem affecting the specific area of Parys, was that water valves were closed illegally and unlawfully by officials from the Ngwathe Local Municipality to divert more water to other parts of the Ngwathe Local Municipality at the expense of the North-Eastern areas of Parys.

The DA Leader in the Free State, Roy Jankielsohn, the Constituency Head for Ngwathe, Mariette Pittaway, and Ward 12 Councillor, Andries Vrey, visited various residents who indicated that, besides the deliberate tampering with valves, there also appears to be a political agenda behind the deliberate water cuts to their area.

The DA laid criminal charges in terms of the Constitution, the Water Services Act, as well as the National Water Act for the joint failure by the Municipal Manager and Director of Technical Services to ensure equitable and fair access to water supply in Parys, despite having knowledge of the unlawful activities related to the tampering and interference with these waterworks. The DA has also reported the matter to the Human Rights Commission.

The non-adherence to these legislative prescripts by the Municipal Manager and Director of Technical Services, have the effect of not recognising that water is a scarce national resource and that the ultimate aim of water resource management is to achieve the sustainable use of water for the benefit of all users. Although Ngwathe borders on the Vaal River, the Free State is a water scarce province and we need to protect of the quality of water resources in the province to ensure the rights of all water users are protected.

Our local governments must ensure that water supply services and sanitation services are provided in a manner which is efficient, equitable and sustainable.

The DA is committed to ensuring that municipal officials are held accountable for its continued failure to supply Ngwathe residents with efficient, equitable and sustainable water. Only a DA-led government will put the people first by ensuring the delivery of quality basic services.