Home Opinion and Features Sol Plaatje Municipality is not the hero here

Sol Plaatje Municipality is not the hero here


OPINION: As the taps run dry in Kimberley, the city is in the throes of a five-day water shutdown – a shutdown that may extend even further. The city’s aged and neglected water infrastructure is on the brink of collapse, and the people are paying the price. While Sol Plaatje Municipality may be quick to claim credit for the ongoing efforts to rectify the situation, let us not be fooled. They are not the heroes here.

File picture: Soraya Crowie, MS Dabbler

By Monty Quill

AS THE taps run dry in Kimberley, the city is in the throes of day four of a five-day water shutdown – a shutdown that may extend even further. The city’s aged and neglected water infrastructure is on the brink of collapse, and the people are paying the price.

The current shutdown has exposed a festering wound – one that runs deep and threatens the very survival of our community.

For years, we’ve endured sporadic water shortages, leaky pipes and crumbling reservoirs – not to mention the cuts, interruptions and shutdowns. Sol Plaatje Municipality, entrusted with the vital task of maintaining our water supply, has failed us miserably. Their promises of swift action and efficient repairs have evaporated like dew on a hot morning. Instead, we’ve witnessed a cycle of broken pipes, broken dreams and broken trust.

While many of our fellow citizens toil tirelessly to patch up the ageing infrastructure, the heroes we seek are nowhere to be found. Sol Plaatje Municipality, with its bureaucratic inertia and lacklustre response, stands accused. They are not the saviours – they are the architects of our misery. Their incompetence has left us high and dry, our taps mere ornaments, mocking our desperation.

The workers, those unsung heroes who labour in the trenches, deserve our respect. They brave the scorching sun, the biting cold and the relentless clock. Overtime becomes their norm, fatigue their constant companion. Yet, they persist, driven by a sense of duty and love for their community. They are the true heroes – the ones who battle against odds stacked high by municipal mismanagement.

Let us not forget that the Sol Plaatje Municipality is not a faceless entity. It comprises individuals – elected officials, bureaucrats and decision-makers. They dine in air-conditioned offices while we queue at communal taps. They sip coffee in boardrooms while we carry water from distant taps. It’s time to hold them accountable. Their negligence has consequences – consequences etched in the lines of our tired faces and the cracks in our lips.

While the workers are out in the field, what are the officials, councillors and management of Sol Plaatje Municipality doing? They are sitting comfortably in their offices, issuing statements and patting themselves on the back.

But what have they really done to prevent this crisis?

The current water shutdown is not a sudden, unforeseen event. It is the result of years of neglect and mismanagement. The water infrastructure did not age overnight. It was allowed to deteriorate over time, under the watch of the very same municipality that now wants to play the hero.

The Sol Plaatje Municipality had ample time and opportunity to take action, to invest in the infrastructure and to ensure that the city’s water supply system was well-maintained and up-to-date. But they failed to do so. And now, the people of Kimberley are paying the price for their negligence.

So, no, the Sol Plaatje Municipality are not the heroes here. They are part of the problem. And it is high time they are held accountable for their failures.

We demand transparency, urgency and action. No more empty promises. No more band-aid solutions. Let this crisis be a turning point. Let us rally together, not as victims, but as a force for change. We deserve a municipality that works for us, not against us. Our water should flow freely, unimpeded by bureaucracy and indifference.

As the sun sets on another day of water scarcity, let us remember that heroes are not born – they are forged in the crucible of adversity. The true heroes are not those who wear capes; they wear overalls stained with sweat and determination. And as we confront this crisis, let us rise above the neglect, the incompetence and the broken promises.

Let us reclaim our right to clean water, and let Sol Plaatje Municipality know that their days of complacency are numbered.

May 29 is not that far away.

* The views expressed here are those of the writer alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the DFA.

** As we navigate through this crisis, let us not forget to acknowledge some real heroes – the workers and citizens who are out there, fixing the mess that the municipality left behind. They are the ones who deserve our gratitude and respect.

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