The Rustenburg Local Municipality leadership collective comprising the Executive Mayor – Councillor Mpho Khunou, Council Speaker – Councillor Shiela Mabale-Huma, Single Whip – Councillor Levy Mokwele and the City’s Accounting Officer Mr. Victor Makona met with the province’s MEC for Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs Hon. Mmoloki Cwaile over the City’s on-going water supply challenges. The meeting follows marathon meetings led by the Executive Mayor, which included a multi-stakeholder meeting held two weeks ago, in which water boards providing bulk-water supply to Rustenburg were present.
The Municipality’s leadership over a period of year has been working around the clock, in an attempt to bring about an end to the inconvenience which many of the City’s residents have to had to endure particularly, in Greater Boitekong, Tlhabane, Tlhabane West and Geelhout among some of the areas that have been hardest hit by consistent water supply interruptions due to low water levels as well as scheduled and unscheduled maintenance, which has had adverse effects on both domestic and commercial users in Rustenburg.
The purpose of the meeting to was to present a plan which among others will focus on the following:
- Increased universal access of clean drinking water, during the Covid-19 pandemic
- Provision of support to municipalities in the coordination of water related operations and funding
- Assist Municipalities to address water demand management operation, by ensuring that demand of supply is achieved
- To develop a medium to long term funding model and mobilization of strategic resources to respond to the water challenges and supply thereof by communities
- Through capacity building, increase water service provision in municipalities, given the constitutional imperative which the service carries in terms of the law and responsibility of government towards citizens for basic service provision
Executive Mayor Khunou, in his opening remarks said, it was well-thought for the provincial government through the office of the MEC to visit Rustenburg and get an insight into the challenges plaguing the
City “MEC Cwaile, we are grateful that you saw it fit to come to Rustenburg to get a first account of our challenges. We have agreements with three water boards and from which we buy our bulk water, however we are not getting joy from what we are paying for, as seemingly there is not value for money” Mayor Khunou said. Rustenburg residents who received their bulk water service from the Boospoort water treatment plant, have also been at the receiving end of inconsistent water supply due to the daily power outages at the plant, which have affected the water reticulation to residents.
The Municipality presented further plans, where in some areas work is near completion. This will increase supply capacity to various areas of Rustenburg while reducing water losses which have negative financial implications on the City’s ability to collect revenue from water sales. A project has been completed which when commissioned will benefit residents of both Zinniaville and East End. Further to that, through grant funding the City will augment water supply in Lekgalong and Freedom Park.
The RLM leadership expressed concern about the water supply issue in Makolokwe, which is around the on-going tussle between tribal authorities who are located between Rustenburg and Madibeng Municipalities. One of the key valves on the bulk water line is located in another village in Madibeng, unfortunately when a conflict arises between the two tribal authorities, communities in Makolokwe are deprived of water supply, as the valve which is in Madibeng will be closed off to cut supply. This further aggravates the situation as the RLM implemented a borehole project which did not yield positive results due to tables were not favorable leaving residents with more frustration. However additional measures have been put in places where once capacity of the Magalies bulk-line has been augmented, residents will have access to water.
The department has pledged its support towards the municipality, which includes the following:
- To consolidate a report which will be shared with both the provincial government and national government for interfacing and envisaged top-down intervention in dealing with the water challenges
- Deploy technical support team to the municipality, to strengthen capacity over monitoring and evaluation objectives, for improved water demand management in the short-to-medium term. This will be critical, when long terms plans are developed and unfold to ensure equitable water distribution between the RLM, mines and other bulk consumers
- To form part of the recently task team comprising of the Municipality, officials from Rand and Magalies Water as well as the mines, which will investigate water supply to all bulk customers including the RLM in understanding the holistic technical/infrastructural challenges
- To detail a medium and long term plan, with both resource allocation and funding to meet the set deliverables in increasing general access to clean drinking water which is not limited to discussion with the treasury department, to ensure financial burden reduction on the RLM
- To mobilize funding in assisting the municipality to proceed with added capacity to its water supply operations to residents, particularly where currently supply is inconsistent. Further to that the completion of the Pilanesburg Water Scheme, which when completed will resolve the current the water supply deficit to Rustenburg. This is important, as all sectors of the economy and neighboring areas to the RLM jurisdiction will benefit, although financing the project requires a province-to-national intervention.
- The department remains concerned about the on-going tussled between the two tribal councils, and will be expediting a process wherein the valve along the bulk water line be moved to ensure illegal water cuts will no longer be experienced, as a result of issues not related to service and in particular water provision.