Ikhutseng and Warrenvale residents are up in arms after being without water for weeks.
THE MAYOR of the Magareng Local Municipality, Neo Mase, has blamed the town’s current water crisis on “dirty politics, load shedding, criminals and an aged water treatment plant”.
This follows reports that Ikhutseng and Warrenvale residents had been without water for more than two weeks.
Residents took to the streets on Monday, January 25, barricading the N12 with stones and burning tyres. They were dispersed by the police.
On Tuesday there was still a heavy police presence in the area while they fought running battles with looters during the night.
Residents accused the municipality of poor service delivery and a lack of transparency due to its failure to provide the residents with regular updates on the water situation.
A member of the Warrenton Concerned Community Group, Themba Mgwevu, was linked to the protest, but denied any involvement.
According to Mgwevu he was linked to the recent protest due to his involvement in a 2020 community march to Magareng Municipality, which was legal.
He stated that those who participated in Monday’s protest on the N12 were mostly young children.
“We, as the group’s leadership, were not involved in the protest, but I do not blame community members for taking their frustrations to the street.
“They are tired of pushing heavy wheelbarrows for long distances in search of water.
“Our municipality does not take us seriously and keeps on making empty promises. The only time we get water is after a protest or before an election,” said Mgwevu.
Mgwevu indicated that the community wants to know why only Ikhutseng and Warrenvale suffer from water shortages while the situation is not the same in Warrenton.
According to him, the whole of Warrenton, including areas which did not have water connections, received water after a mass march during which Premier Zamani Saul addressed residents.
Mase assured residents that the water crisis will soon be a thing of the past due to the construction of a new water treatment plant in Warrenton.
“The Department of Water Affairs has assisted us in the construction of a new plant due to the fact that our population has increased to such an extent that the current plan is no longer sufficient,” she said.
She said the construction of the new plant started in April 2020 and is expected to be completed in June 2021.
According to Mase the latest load shedding has affected the current plant with several valves being damaged.
She also accused some residents of intentionally closing the water valves, preventing the tanks from filling up.
Mase further pointed out that leakages are a major problem in getting water to the upper part of the township.
She stated that the only settlements that do not have water connections are Sonderwater, Refitlhile and Rrabaki, adding that the municipality has allocated 12 Jojo tanks to the identified settlements, which they fill on a regular basis.
Mase also promised that communication channels will be improved between the councillors, ward committees and the community.