Eradication of the bucket system and water quality were high on the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) permanent delegates’ list of priorities during the Provincial Week programme in the Free State.

Masilonyana Local Municipality was the last to be visited by Members of Parliament (MPs) at the Brandfort water purification plant, the Theunissen bucket eradication project and the Winberg sewerage treatment plant.

 According to Lungile Mokoteli, Theunissen Municipal Manager, the municipality is replacing the bucket system in favour of clean, functioning toilets that improve the quality of life for residents. The project has a budget of R3.6 million for new toilets, pipes and taps.

However, Mr Moletsane (MP) questioned the spate of leakages in the street in light of community members seen pushing wheelbarrows to water points around the township. The municipality admitted that water delivery is an issue because of aging water delivery infrastructure, forcing the municipality to introduce water shedding to ease the pressure. The municipality has also contracted a service provider to fix the leaks.

A bulk water pipe contract is currently underway at the Winburg water treatment plant that is set to address the insufficient water supply and poor water quality, However, the municipality pointed out that the water quality varies with the season. The municipality also plans to improve its finances by introducing a smart meter system. However, NCOP delegate Mr George Michalakis was concerned about how people who could not afford to pay would be accommodated. The municipality said that Jojo tanks and buckets will be provided to these people.

Another delegate, Mr Itumeleng Ntsube, asked the municipality to commit to ensuring that the project is finished by the next financial year. This the municipality promised to do.

 The Winburg sewerage treatment plant was situated too close to the community, compromising health standards. However, the municipality promised the NCOP delegates that alternative sources of funding would ensure this issue is resolved. The Mayor, Mr Dimakatso Modise, thanked the NCOP for coming to listen to their problems and vowed that even though the municipality is small and with little funding, it will continue to provide services to its community.

Tebatso Mabilisa
1 April 2022