Ngwathe infrastructure committee negligence exacerbates water shortage crisis

Issued by Saal de Jager – DA Councillor Ngwathe Local Municipality
02 Jun 2023 in Press Statements

Note to editors: Please find attached English and Afrikaans soundbites by Cllr Saal de Jager and Sesotho by Karabo Khakhau MP.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is deeply concerned about the appalling state of affairs within Ngwathe Local Municipality’s infrastructure committee. The DA has expressed frustration over the lack of effective decision-making and communication processes. This negligence has had a severe impact on the community, particularly in relation to the current shortage of clean water.

Decisions made by the committee are consistently hindered by the inadequate preparation of officials, leading to frequent delays and the need for additional information. Unfortunately, the opposition only becomes aware of infrastructure developments after they have already occurred, denying them the opportunity for meaningful input. Vital information, including tenders and visits by provincial and other external institutions, is not properly communicated, further exacerbating the problem.

A prime example of this negligence is evident in the recent renewal of two sand filters at the 1950 works. Due to poor planning, the wrong medium was applied, and what should have been a one-week job ended up taking a staggering nearly 2 months. Additionally, the contractor irresponsibly removed two sand and spray valves from the 1970 jobs, leaving the filters unused and contributing to the water shortage. Furthermore, wasteful actions, such as the dismantling of work done by CMS contractors, as recommended by Africa Engineering consulting engineers, have resulted in the squandering of millions of Rands.

The DA will engage in an investigation and compile a report, to be tabled in the council, into the infrastructure committee and implementation of oversight mechanisms to address the lack of effective decision-making, communication, and accountability.

The report will assist the committee to:

  • Develop guidelines for improved planning
  • Enhance transparency through regular updates and public consultations.
  • Strengthen supervision and quality control
  • Establish mechanisms for accountability and consequences.
  • Engage stakeholders in the decision-making process.
  • Implement a monitoring and evaluation framework to track progress and address emerging issues.

Other instances of incompetence have occurred in places like Vredefort, where residents are left without an adequate supply of water because only half of the waterworks’ capacity is now being used. It is obvious that the Infrastructure Committee, which was in charge of monitoring these projects, did not fulfil its obligations to guarantee efficient planning, implementation, and accountability.

The DA won’t give up until these existing problems are resolved and additional harm to the community is avoided.