The Rustenburg Local Municipality has noted with concern the eruption of violent protests in Tlhabane, over water supply challenges. Currently work is underway in Tlhabane Ward 11 to address the inconsistent water supply to residents. Over the last few weeks, the leadership collective of the RLM has been meeting on regular basis to find a lasting solution to this challenge.
The weekly engagements comprising of internal stakeholders and experts roped in by the Municipality are intended on resolving this inconvenience which the RLM regrets. To date, about 6 million rand has been set aside, to ensure that the identified households in Tlhabane which have been certified to be under 1000 get reconnected to the bulk water pipe-line. To this extent, an appointed contractor has started with the project, which will see all these households get access to water, as has been the case previously.
Further to that, the Municipality had also commenced with work in Tlhabane West and Geelhout in respect of the upgrading of the bulk water pipe-line to ensure that the water supply challenges that residents in these areas have experienced are permanently resolved. The Municipality has called an extra-ordinary multi-stakeholder meeting which includes the various water boards from which the City purchases bulk water to deal with the reduced water supply to Rustenburg across the various water schemes. The RLM remains optimistic that this engagement with all the key stakeholders, will bring about the much-needed solution and bring to an end, the anguish of residents.
One of our water suppliers – Rand Water has formally notified the Municipality of its reduction of water supply through one of their networks and this has had an adverse effect on the City to provide the required daily supply to communities which has inadvertently inconvenienced our residents further. Our water supply challenges have been further compounded by a series of power supply interruptions at Rustenburg Water Services Trust-operated plant, which has delayed the pumping of water and subsequent channeling to our network for dispensing to residents.
The Municipality however takes exception to the violent protests which have broken out, where there have been threats of destruction to public property. The Executive Mayor of Rustenburg Councillor Mpho Khunou said, residents have a right to protest, however, that should not leave the City with the burden and repairing damaged infrastructure “we are aware of the grievances by our residents in Tlhabane, while we respect their right to protest it is important to take into account that any destruction of public property key in ensuring continued service delivery is not in the best interests of the residents as this will affect them in the end” Mayor Khunou concluded.
The RLM has also noted that there are external forces, who want to hijack genuine community concerns for their motives. To this extent, the Municipality is aware of the participation of a Member of the Mayoral Committee from the Bojanala District Municipality in the violent protests, which have taken place for the better part of yesterday. The City calls for calm while the leadership of the Municipality is working around the clock to ensure that the issue is resolved with the necessary speed.