11 weeks of dry taps but water running down the street

Issued by Marie van Rooyen – DA Councillor Matjhabeng Local Municipality
15 Mar 2023 in Press Statements

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Cllr Marie van Rooyen.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Matjhabeng Local Municipality is concerned with water losses occurring across Riebeeckstad. The community is desperate and angry. With 11 weeks of continuous water interruptions and no answers or explanations from the municipality.

Taps have been running dry for weeks, with high-lying areas suffering the most as a result of loadshedding, which affects water pumps. Additionally, major infrastructure backlogs and increased demand from residents have ensured that the municipality is unable and unwilling to find solutions to the crisis.

The Balkfontein water pump is still unserviceable with no answer as to when it will be repaired. Bloemwater has attempted to pump water at night to assist the DeErf reservoir but cannot do so continuously due to possible damage and required maintenance.

The water losses and shortages have affected thousands of residents in Riebeeckstad creating a perfect storm. According to 2020/2021 Auditor General’s report, water losses in Matjhabeng amounted to R323 million. Resulting in 56% of the water the municipality receives, being lost through water leakages. This far exceeds the national norm of 15-30%.

Ageing infrastructure, burst pipes and unmetered connections are some of the main challenges faced. According to a spokesperson of Bloemwater, the municipality owes the board R4,8 billion in unpaid accounts. If funds were spent correctly, there would be a huge improvement in the infrastructure and the supply of water to residents. Role players are blaming each other as taps stay dry.

The DA urges the municipality to prioritise the reduction of non-revenue water, infrastructure upgrades and refurbishing of the water supply to the community. Water supply must be sustainable in all municipalities. We will continue to fight for service delivery and ensure that the municipality is held accountable to the community. The DA is committed to good governance and therefore urges all residents to register to vote in the 2024 National and Provincial Government elections.