The DA has demanded that national government intervenes in Sol Plaatje Municipality’s collapsing water and sewage infrastructure crisis.
THE DA is sceptical whether the planned city-wide water interruption this weekend will do much to improve the flooding problem on the R31 and N12, where overflowing water and sewage is starting to submerge sections of the roads.
The edges of the Roodepan road leading up to the R31 are also starting to disintegrate, where vehicles have been diverted while the R31 is closed to traffic.
The city will be without any water from May 12 to 15 while repairs are done on the 965-millimetre water pipeline near Gogga pump station, as well as behind 3SAI military base, and the 600-millimetre pipeline near the Roodepan take-off.
According to Sol Plaatje Municipality, it will address leakages along the R31 and N12.
During an oversight visit on Tuesday, Member of Parliament and DA spokesperson on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Cilliers Brink stated that 64 percent of water losses were attributed to the flooded areas.
“This has been caused by almost two decades worth of a lack of municipal infrastructure maintenance,” said Brink.
“Since 2004, unattended sewage leaks from the Gogga pump station, combined with freshwater leaks from the Riverton mainline, were allowed to slowly fill up four pans alongside the R31, crossing the road and engulfing it from either side. It is also affecting the Platfontein community.”
Brink added that the R32 million project to broaden and lift the affected portion of the road did nothing to prevent the unfolding crisis.
“Lifting the road by 1.5 metres is only a temporary solution as the water is rising at a rate of 40 millimetres per day.
“Further attempts to lower water levels by digging a trench to divert the water to another dry pan further along the R31 will be futile, as this pan will also eventually fill up and flood the road.
“While the Department of Roads and Public Works continues to pursue this project, with additional costs due to the emergency measures, there are concerns about the sustainability of the multimillion-rand attempt to save the R31.”
Brink said that short-lived attempts to repair water leaks only resulted in exposing deteriorating infrastructure.
“Private business, mines, provincial and national Treasury should be approached to assist in funding the repairs. Qualified civil engineers must be hired to do the job.”
DA MP Delmaine Christians believed that the N12 road could suffer a similar fate if water leaks were not attended to as a matter of urgency.
“Once again, the provincial government is well aware of this looming threat that has already resulted in the stopping of trains due to water flowing below the road channel,” said Christians.
“A mixture of sewage and freshwater is threatening to place this national road in the same position as the flooded R31.”
She added that she had approached Deputy President David Mabuza to oversee the repairs of the R31 and to provide time frames as to when work will be completed.
“I will request him to accompany me on oversight visits to the R31 and other looming road disasters. We have also asked the select committee on cooperative governance and traditional affairs to summon the MEC for Cooperative Governance, Human Development and Traditional Affairs (Coghsta), Bentley Vass, to appear before them.
”I have also questioned the R500 million that was spent on road infrastructure and potholes in the Province.”
Christians said she had also lodged a complaint for investigation by the Green Scorpions to test the quality of the water.
“R25 million was spent previously on failed attempts to repair the Gogga pump station.”
Sol Plaatje Municipality spokesperson Thoko Riet said that a contractor would be responsible for the work that would be carried out during the water shutdown this weekend.
“Everything is on track. Our teams will also be on-site,” said Riet.
She pointed out that an assessment would be done after all repairs were completed.
“We cannot guarantee that there will not be a drop left along the affected roads, although it should improve the situation.”