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Pipeline vandalised

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“The ‘holes’ that were observed were openings where water from the pipeline was emptied."

Picture: Danie van der Lith

SEVERAL massive holes have been created on the main pipeline carrying water from Riverton to Kimberley, resulting in the creation of a large fresh water dam and jeopardising the supply of water to the city.

The DA provincial spokesperson on Agriculture, Land Reform, Rural Development and Nature Conservation, Reinette Liebenberg, said yesterday that the dam was being created on what was believed to be municipal property.

“During an environmental helicopter oversight inspection conducted yesterday, it was revealed that the pipeline that is supposed to pump water to the city has been vandalised to redirect water from Riverton into what seems to be a massive fresh water dam on the outskirts of Kimberley,” Liebenberg said.

She added that approximately five huge holes have been dug into the main pipeline that runs just outside the military camp in 3SAI.

“From these dams, irrigation channels have further been dug to divert the water, which seemingly ends up at the new dam in the veld.

“In the meantime, residents from Kimberley have had to deal with dry taps for almost a week already.”

Liebenberg stated that the party laid the blame for the current water crisis squarely on the shoulders of Sol Plaatje Municipality. “They are failing dismally to manage the city’s bulk infrastructure. How is it possible that, to date, they have not checked the pipeline for water leakages? This is unacceptable. The municipality’s excuses will not cut it any longer.”

Liebenberg stated that one could only wonder how long this dam has been in existence and how long the people of Kimberley have been disadvantaged as a direct result of this “backyard” dam.

“Sol Plaatje needs to urgently repair the holes in the pipeline and stop the water leakages that are preventing the Newton Reservoir from reaching acceptable water levels and are ultimately violating residents of their basic right to water.”

Municipal spokesperson Sello Matsie yesterday denied that there was a dam. “The ‘holes’ that were observed were openings where water from the pipeline was emptied.

“Scour valves are installed on the pipeline to enable water to be removed from the line at any future date. The scour valves were opened by the municipality’s staff to remove the millions of litres of water from the pipeline so that the nine holes could be closed.”

He added that this was the same section of the pipeline that was victim to the passing railroad. “The pipeline has to go under the railway line, which affects the stability of the metal water pipeline.

“This information was provided upfront and we provided evidence indicating work done on the pipeline.”

Matsie stated further that vandals were also damaging the pipeline in the area. “This was reported on Monday already to the media, where we called on nearby residents to report incidents of vandalism on the pipeline. To claim there is a dam on municipal land is a bit far-fetched.”

Matsie added that the municipality was also experiencing challenges of vandalism at the Homevale Wastewater Purification Works. This has seen cable theft at three of the plant’s operating facilities. “Efforts are under way to bring it back to normal.”

He said that security would also be beefed up at the plant.