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Warrenton on tenterhooks

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Warrenton community members have threatened to close down the N12 and enforce a shutdown on the town if their service delivery frustrations are not taken seriously.

Warrenton residents are fed up with the lack of basic services. Picture: Supplied

WARRENTON community members have threatened to close down the N12 and enforce a shutdown on the town if their service delivery frustrations are not taken seriously.

The town continues to be deprived of a regular supply of water, despite millions of rand being spent on failed attempts to restore the water.

Residents indicated that the water purification plant was not functioning and that their taps remained bone dry.

“It is even worse since the second contractor was appointed. Time frames have passed while the contractor remains on site. No concerted efforts are being made to end the water catastrophe,” they said.

Community members marched to Magareng Municipality to voice their frustrations. Picture: Supplied

The residents believed that the water supply was being deliberately sabotaged to benefit water tanker distributors.

“There is a lack of transparency and communication as to what the real causes are for the delay in restoring the water supply.

“There are also constant electricity shortages as the municipality does not have the capacity to provide services. We want to be supplied directly by Eskom.”

Further complaints include the poor state of the roads, non-functioning floodlights and street lights and calls for a new graveyard to be built as there is insufficient space for burials.

“We are required to pay R500 to secure a single burial ground and it is unlawful to bury someone in your own backyard.”

A memorandum was handed over to Magareng mayor Neo Mase on March 1. Picture: Supplied

Magareng Municipality did not respond to media enquiries.

Community members were meanwhile angry over the no-show of Premier Zamani Saul, or any representative from his office, yesterday. Saul had been expected to address Warrenton residents yesterday.

EFF member of Parliament Mathiba Mohlala, in December 2023, pointed out that Warrenton had endured eight months without running water.

She found the apparent lack of response from Magareng Local Municipality to be “concerning”.

“The community is grappling with ongoing challenges related to water scarcity.”

In reply, the Minister of Water and Sanitation, Senzo Mchunu, indicated that Magareng Municipality was utilising outdated asbestos pipes that constituted the major component of the water distribution network.

“Magareng Municipality reported that it is implementing three short and medium-term initiatives to address water supply challenges in Warrenton and surrounding areas.

“Water tankering was implemented as a temporary measure until the water supply is restored. Two trucks are operating across the town of Warrenton on an ad hoc basis.”

Mchunu added that the municipality appointed a service provider to inspect and repair the damaged bulk pipeline from the Vaal River to the water treatment plant.

“Inconsistencies in river levels resulted in delays in the completion of the repairs along the pipeline.”

He indicated that repairs amounting to R1.1 million were completed between August and November 2023.

Mchunu indicated that there were continued challenges impeding an adequate supply of water to residents.

“The distribution network was not operational for eight months. This automatically resulted in the asbestos cement pipes becoming brittle. Once the water was restored, the pressure build-up in the pipes resulted in major leakage problems due to the asbestos pipes bursting. The leakages affect pressure variation in the network and the water supply becomes problematic during peak hours.”

Mchunu stated that the construction of the bulk water pipeline on the old N18 Margrieta Prinsloo bridge was a long-term and the “most sustainable” solution to resolve the challenges.

“The cost to completion for the remaining works is estimated at R5.1 million. Construction of the remaining portion of the project commenced in April 2023. The project is 90 percent complete.”

He explained that the completion date was shifted from August to December last year due to challenges experienced such as increased leakages of the asbestos pipes and major valve components having rusted and broken off.

“The team revised the strategy to include reconstruction of valve chambers and leakage repairs as part of the bulk water pipeline as this restricted the functionality of the whole bulk water pipeline. The expenditure to date is R2.3 million.”

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