MODJADJISKLOOF: Millions for cars but not for water

Image: reviewonline.co.za

These are the absurd questions that residents are asking, as the water saga in Modjadjiskloof continues.

Read: ‘Malema’s sinkhole’ in Limpopo

Residents are up in arms for being left high and dry after it came to light that the desperately needed maintenance, repair and replacement of the internal water reticulation system has not been budgeted for.

It is also alleged that the Greater Letaba Municipality (GLM) does not pay suppliers.

One supplier in Polokwane is believed to be owed an amount of R28 000.

This supplier now refuses to supply spares for the repairs of the water reticulation system. The replacement valve costs a mere R2 400.

Shockingly, a new car was bought for the mayor for an amount of R1.3 million.

Read: Modjadjiskloof: Residents stand together

Additionally, GLM budgeted for a new car for the Speaker to the value of R800 000. According to Frederick Pohl, DA Proportional Councilor, the first reason for the water problem is that the purification works do not have enough capacity.

Read: Modjadjiskloof set to get R50m boost for Black Industrialist Programme

“The purification works was expanded and completed around December 2016. A contractor started with the building of a bigger pipeline from the purification works at Politsi to the reservoir of Modjajiskloof but was stopped, allegedly due to the lack of an environmental authorization to build the pipeline.  A court case is in progress about this matter. Due to this issue being unresolved the water supply was still cut during the evenings from 21:00 to approximately 04:00 in the early mornings to enable the pumps to fill the reservoirs to supply both Modjadjiskloof and GaKgapane,” said Pohl.

Read: HOEDSPRUIT: Under resourced municipality pays R6million for waste removal

There are several other reasons why the water supply to Modjadjiskloof is erratic and leaves the residents without water, often for days.

GLM has signed a service level agreement with Mopani District Municipality in terms of which Mopani will supply bulk water to the GLM.

Mopani is responsible for the maintenance of the bulk supply system.

“GLM is responsible for the maintenance, repair and replacement of equipment of the internal water reticulation system. This system has been very poorly maintained. There was never budget in the municipal budget for this. In terms of the service level agreement, it is the duty of the GLM to budget for this. The further problem is that the GLM does not pay suppliers,” Pohl further stated.

Since July 2017, water supply in the area has been unpredictable.

It was discovered that a ball valve gets stuck and interrupts the water supply. The replacement valve costs R2 400.

After pressure from the DA and the community, the ball valve was removed and replaced with an old ball valve which has also been giving problems.

Pohl has taken the valve that was removed to an engineering works for repairs.

Members of the community have offered to pay for the repairs.

Pohl has also started taking steps to alleviate the problem.  A motion will serve before Council at the next Council meeting requesting that the GLM reallocate funds in terms of the budget to alleviate the water issue, redirecting funds from other projects such as the 4 new stadiums that the GLM have budgeted for to an amount of roughly R16 million.

“The worst is that a new car was bought for the mayor for an amount of R1.3 million and they budgeted for a new car for the Speaker to the value of R800 000.00. This money could have been spent on repairing the water reticulation system. There are also irregular expenditures of roughly R22.8 million rand, many towards travel and lodging expenses,” Pohl stated.

The matter will be taken up with Mopani District Municipality to determine why the pipeline cannot be completed.

Read: Department of Water and Sanitation to issue update on defaulting municipalities

Apparently the delay is due to lack of environmental authorization and also due to the fact that there is a dispute about the water allocation from the Magoebaskloof Dam to the GLM between the Mopani District Municipality and an Irrigation Board below the Magoebaskloof Dam, according to Pohl.

The facts surrounding this dispute will also be investigated by the DA.

Niel Shikwambana, spokesperson for the Mopani District Municipality, acknowledged our enquiry on Friday, January 19 and, replied, “I will revert shortly with a response.”

Letaba Herald did not receive a response to date.

Any comments? Email: [email protected] or voice your opinion by SMS on: 083 407 8887

  AUTHOR
Letaba Herald

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