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The lack of clean drinking water has left the residents of Rietfontein, in the Ngaka Modiri Molema District Municipality in the North West Province with no other option, but to use water flowing from a sewage spillage for household use.

Mr Bennie Bosiane detailed how the community had over time depended on water provided by tanks to sustain them. But the municipality has steadily withdrawn the provision of tank water service something that led the community to depend on dirty sewage spillage water.

“We used to depend on the water tanks that the municipality used to bring to the people but this service has stopped. The last time Ngaka Modiri Molema sent the water tank was on 10 March this year. How can people live without an important resource such as water,” asked Mr Bosiane.

Mr Boshiane was briefing a delegation of the Ad Hoc Committee to Inquire into the Intervention in the North West Provincial Government in terms of section 100 of the Constitution meeting in Lichtenburg.   The Ad Hoc Committee is in the province to undertake oversight visits to ascertain if there was a need for the intervention as required by Section 100 (2) (b) of the constitution.

Member of Executive Council (MEC) responsible for Local Government and Housing in the North West Province Ms Galaletsang Gaolaolwe said she was not aware about the challenge of water the people of Rietfontein were facing. “I promise that my department together with both the district and local municipalities will urgently look into the matter to find solutions to the community of Rietfontein. I have to caution though, I don’t believe that provision of water by tanks is sustainable in the long run,” MEC Gaolaolwe said.

The delegation visited the Lichtenburg Waste Water Treatment Plant earlier where it found a partly operational plant facing a number of challenges. “Of major concern to us was that the workers did not have adequate gear necessary to work in that environment. It was also concerning that the workers did not have tools of trade to do their work,” said Mr Jomo Nyambi, the leader of Mahikeng delegation.

The Manager for Infrastructure in Lichtenburg highlighted that one of the key challenges they were facing was the skills deficit at the plant. The plant is being run by general workers which are now expected to act as process controllers. Another major concern to the delegation was that there seemingly no enough funds to cover operation of the plant and maintenance of the infrastructure.

The delegation appealed for better cooperation and coordination between the district and local government level if they are to overcome challenges faced by the province. The delegation will continue with its oversight visit and some of the sites to be visited include the Mahikeng Provincial Hospital and schools around Mahikeng.

By Malatswa Molepo
17 October 2018