Water boss gives ear to Ngqushwa problems

Tshwete vows to address troubling issues

Water and sanitation deputy minister Pamela Tshwete addresses Ngqushwa municipality officials on Monday after allegations surfaced that business-people were deliberately damaging infrastructure and that water truck drivers were selling water to communities.
Water and sanitation deputy minister Pamela Tshwete addresses Ngqushwa municipality officials on Monday after allegations surfaced that business-people were deliberately damaging infrastructure and that water truck drivers were selling water to communities.
Image: Supplied

Allegations of business-people mischievously damaging water infrastructure so they could access tenders are rife in the Ngqushwa municipality.

Rumours also abound that municipal truck drivers are selling water to communities in the water scarce area.

These are among a number of allegations water and sanitation deputy minister Pamela Tshwete heard on Monday at her meeting with officials from the provincial department of water and sanitation, the national office, Amatola water board, councillors and ward committee members on issues bedevilling the area.

The Ngqushwa water board referred questions on the allegations to the water and sanitation department.

“This allegation keeps popping up since the trucks were launched last year, but the deputy minister [warned them] last year at the launch of the trucks, which deliver water in villages,” said Tshwete’s spokesperson Luvo Damse.

Damse said they contacted ward committee members to be on stand-by when the trucks moved into the villages.

Ngqushwa municipality spokesperson Ncumisa Cakwe could not be reached at the time of writing.

Damse said the meeting formed part of Tshwete’s visits to various districts to offer solutions to reported water issues.

Acknowledging that the issue was the responsibility of the municipality, Tshwete decided to intervene because the water issues affected residents.

“Some of the reported issues include drivers of the municipality water tankers selling water, deliberate tampering with and damaging of water infrastructure, illegal water bypassing and rerouting by farmers, reservoirs within communities that serve certain areas only, and water restrictions imposed by the Amatola water board,” Damse said.

He said Tshwete had issued a stern warning to councillors who were reportedly not helpful to their communities when water issues were brought to their attention.

“She also bemoaned the lack of accountability and the evident lack of co-operation between the Amatola water board and the Amathole District Municipality, impacting on the supply to the local municipality,” he said.

“It is also very important for the municipalities to respond urgently to the water leakages with assistance by the Amatola water board.

“This is very important to deal with especially during such water scarce conditions,” he said.

The department announced at the meeting that a sanitation programme, which includes building toilets in Ngqushwa villages, would begin next month.

Tshwete has also instructed her office to set up a follow-up meeting with the municipality, department of co-operative governance and traditional affairs, the water board and the provincial water and sanitation department.

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