Gauteng and NW Province

Water shortages top local government summit agenda

Sunday 11 November 2012
Water shortages and the need to save water occupied the minds of national and local politicians attending a specially convened local government summit in the Free State. The Water Affairs Department says more water is lost due to leakages and ailing infrastructure.

The talks take place as Kimberly taps are dry after aging infrastructure failed and tap water in Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape is contaminated.

The two-day summit also focused on how to accelerate and improve service delivery at local government level. The summit follows a damning Auditor-General’s report which painted a gloomy picture on the state of affairs in municipalities across the country.

Senior politicians, councillors and municipal officials all under one roof, grappling a poor report card from the Auditor-General around service delivery and governance. Red flags raised were around infrastructure, sanitation, corruption and capacity.

National government has promised swift action. Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister, Richard Baloyi says: “Around 67 engineers have been appointed to help municipalities in an attempt to deal with capacity and challenges posed by infrastructure.”

Water scarcity affects many urban and rural communities. Water and Environmental Affairs Minister, Edna Molewa says: “In the Free State, we have identified the short, medium term and long interventions that needs to be embarked upon, because we have identified some of the key challenges being amongst others, the lack of co-ordination, lack of capacity and skills, lack of provision services like operations and maintenance which is not so good, functionality problems and so forth.”

A tough stance has been taken against corrupt activities. Free State Premier, Ace Magashule says: “People who appeared in those reports are being charged criminally. They have already appeared in court. Some have been suspended and cases are continuing.”

Government reiterated its anti-corruption stance. It called on councillors to report contractors who do shoddy work.


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