GLM under fire over water saga

Seemingly the Greater Letaba Municipality (GLM) are incapable of repairing basic services due to allegations that a credit facility is not in place in case of an emergency.

LETABA HERALD was flooded with phone calls and social media posts on Sunday with complaints from angry residents about the water situation and asked the publication to please try to intervene. The water saga started on Sunday, July 22 after a pipe burst in the Panorama area. This is not the first time that a pipe has burst in this area.

“The pipe could not be repaired due to the fact that the GLM did not have the material in stock to repair the pipe,” Fredrick Pohl, DA Proportional Councillor of the Greater Letaba Municipality, told the HERALD.

According to Pohl, an official responsible informed him that the order for the material was not signed by the Chief Financial Officer.

Read: MODJADJISKLOOF: Millions for cars but not for water

“On Tuesday July 24, I requested the municipal manager to intervene and have the order signed. Residents were by then without water for two days. On Wednesday the MM confirmed that they are at the supplier to get the required material and that the water supply will be restored the same day. I spoke to the supplier and they denied that they have been approached and that any payment was received for material. I was told that the supplier did not have the correct material in stock by the GLM,” Pohl went on to inform the HERALD. Lepelle Northern Water (LNW) confirmed that the Panorama reservoir is 22% full and that there was no reason why the water cannot be supplied. “I requested that a water tanker be sent to Panorama. The MM told me that the tanker was there in the morning but left to assist the family of the deceased ANC ward 26 councillor at Koranta Village at 14:00, while a whole community in town is without water. I was promised that the water supply will be fixed the same day,” said Pohl.

LNW offered the material on July 24 but required a formal request per email as the GLM has previously borrowed material and failed to replace the it. At around 17:00, a member of the community who wants to remain anonymous assisted by using her influence to get the required material from LNW. The pipe was then repaired the same night and the outlet was opened. “I arranged that Lepelle pump water until 22: 00 that night and they agreed that they will and that they would start pumping again from 03:00 July 26. The pipe was repaired and the water was supposed to flow. “Water started to flow but had to be shut down again due to another pipe burst in Uitzicht Drive. This was repaired but water was not flowing to Panorama. On Sunday it was discovered after many messages, phone calls and eventually threats of court action, that a valve supplying Panorama was not open. Panorama was then without water for six days. Water supply was only finally restored to Panorama on Sunday evening,” says Pohl. During all these processes, it is alleged that the absence of the ANC ward councillor was obvious and that there was no assistance from any of the ANC councillors living in town, according to Pohl. Four matters of grave concern crystallised from this whole saga.

“Firstly, the inability of the GLM to repair basic services due to the failure to plan for failure and keep repair material in stock. Secondly, the inability of the GLM to source material in time to keep basic services running. Thirdly, poor communication with Lepelle prevented Lepelle to assist in supplying the required matrial. Fourthly, that a supplier was not paid to keep the credit facility within its limits. A credit facility is required only for emergencies and should be available for such emergencies. It is sad to say that some people go around very circumspectly with the truth,” Pohl said.

Pohl told the HERALD that the DA has on several occasions and even with a motion in Council requested that the water reticulation system be properly maintained and that budgeted funds be re-allocated to repair the brittle and aged water reticulation system.

“The Service Level Agreement with Mopani District Municipality requires the GLM to have a business plan for the maintenance, repair and even expansion of the water reticulation infrastructure. No such plans are in place despite this agreement with Mopani. Again during the budget speech of the Mayor at the end of May it was specifically said in reply to the DA that there should be a budget allocated for this instead of the building of four new sport complexes. The DA specifically stated that people cannot drink stadiums,” Pohl stated.

Can it be that this whole saga of the last week proved all the allegations correct?

Any comments or concerns about the water saga? Email: [email protected]

  AUTHOR
Bertus de Bruyn
Journalist / News Editor

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