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N Cape municipality accused of neglecting, abandoning residents

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“I am told that the water tanks placed here by the local government are filthy and unhygienic, and that they aren’t filled according to the municipality’s own schedule”

THE DA has accused the Dawid Kruiper Municipality in Upington of neglecting and abandoning residents in the Dakota informal settlement after the local authority apparently failed to supply basic services to more than

2 000 residents in the area.

The remarks were made by DA interim leader John Steenhuisen on Friday during the party’s Real State of the Nation tour.

Steenhuisen accused the municipality and governing party of failing to meet the basic needs of the community.

“When I was first told that a settlement of over 2 000 people had to survive without a single water tap, I thought that something had gotten lost in translation, or that this was some kind of exaggeration. I could not believe that thousands of people living in one of the hottest and driest parts of the country had no piped water. An entire informal settlement that has been here for eight years with no running water at all. This is a shameful indictment of the local government elected to serve this community,” said Steenhuisen.

He added that the water tanks supplied to the community were not up to standard.

“I am told that the water tanks placed here by the local government are filthy and unhygienic, and that they aren’t filled according to the municipality’s own schedule. This is meant to happen twice a week, but residents are lucky if they get water once a week.”

Steenhuisen said that attempts by his party to bring water to the community were dismissed by the governing party.

“Several years ago councillor Flip van der Steen tabled a motion to have 25 taps installed in Dakota at a cost of R70 000. Predictably, this motion was opposed by council and they chose instead to carry on paying R250 000 to bring in the water by truck.”

Steenhuisen said that the lack of piped water is not the only challenge that the community is forced to live with.

“This is also a place where bucket toilets can still be found, despite continual promises to eradicate them. Just recently this municipality had to return

R22 million earmarked for the eradication of bucket toilets because it had failed to spend the money.”

The spokesperson for Dawid Kruiper Municipality, Patrick Williams, said that the local authority is in the process of installing water taps in the area.

“This process (installing water taps in the Dakota area) will start soon. The project is funded with our own funds. The taps will replace the JoJo tanks that were placed in the area. As far as water availability to Dakota is concerned, we dispatch water trucks to the area on a regular basis. We have 78 JoJo tanks that are supposed to be filled up in the municipal area. We acknowledge the complaints of the unhygienic condition of the tanks and are attending to it. Like in all other municipalities there are budgetary constraints and we experience breakdowns with our trucks now and then,” said Williams.

He denied claims that the municipality had returned money which was allocated for the eradication of bucket toilets.

“The funds of R22 million that was made reference to were never paid over to the municipality. The Department of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation re-allocated the funding to another municipality. This was an indirect grant that is administered by the Department of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation,” Williams said.