Home News Dispute sees city water project stall

Dispute sees city water project stall

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“The pipes that were supposed to be installed, as part of the upgrades at the Newton Reservoir, were left abandoned at the site.”

RUNNING: A river of water was seen gushing down the road from the reservoir. Picture: Danie van der Lith

WORK to replace Kimberley’s leaking pipes and upgrade the infrastructure to prevent the frequent water shutdowns plaguing the city, will only resume once a new sub-contractor is appointed.

The previous sub-contractor left the site at the Newton Reservoir in December due to a dispute with the main contractor.

Yesterday, a river of water was seen gushing down the road from the reservoir.

During an inspection of the Newton Reservoir and the water purification plant and pumping stations at Riverton yesterday, DA provincial leader Andrew Louw (pictured) indicated that the sub-contractor was last seen on site at the beginning of the year, to collect his equipment.

“The pipes that were supposed to be installed, as part of the upgrades at the Newton Reservoir, were left abandoned at the site.”

Louw questioned the reasons for the unexpected departure of the sub-contractor.

“Considering how frequently contractors abandon government projects due to lack of payment, we can only speculate the reasons to leave before the project was finished. Our councillors will follow up in council on exactly how much has been spent on this project and when it will be completed, so that water and a sense of normality can be restored.”

Louw identified ailing infrastructure and poor maintenance as being the main culprits for the water cuts that have become a part of daily life for city residents.

“The purification plant and pumping stations at Riverton appear to be in a fair working condition. The water level at Riverton is also apparently high enough to meet the city’s water demand.

“It therefore appears that the reason why the municipality cannot meet the city’s water demand has more to do with poor maintenance, crumbling water infrastructure and a lack of planning to ensure that infrastructure keeps abreast with the pace of development in the city.”

He pointed out that there were “many deviations” relating to water infrastructure projects.

“This has given rise to the view that supply chain management processes are being manipulated for political gain.

“Water leakages, burst pipes and water losses are a common occurrence in Kimberley. In the 2016/17 financial year, the municipality suffered losses of up to 50 percent, where high volumes of purified water went to waste.

“Instead of blaming ratepayers for using water, the municipality would do better to dedicate its resources to reducing water wastage.”

Sol Plaatje Municipality spokesperson Sello Matsie explained that the contractor and sub-contractor were now embroiled in legal action.

“The contractor was appointed to replace the leaking pipes and improve the water infrastructure. While every drop counts, the water that is leaking from a pipe at the Newton Reservoir is not as significant, in relation to the shortfall of 60 million litres that the city is facing.”

Matsie stated that the municipality could penalise the contractor if the delays continued indefinitely.

“The municipality is up to date with all payments to the contractor. The reason for the contractor moving off site is mainly a dispute between the sub-contractor and the contractor, where Sol Plaatje is currently seeking redress on contractual obligation.”

Matsie added that it was irresponsible for the DA to not encourage strict water-saving measures in light of scarce resources.

“To inform the community that the water levels are high enough to meet the city’s water demand is extremely dangerous. The city is facing a dire water shortage problem and it is affecting every single person. There are challenges but it’s incorrect to advise the public against saving water.”

He said that the municipality was in the process of improving the water infrastructure.

“We are busy resuscitating the old pump station that was commissioned on December 7 1949 that currently provides 27 megalitres of water per day.”