Collen T. Ndobo
The South African Communist Party (SACP) in the Free State has called for an immediate end to what it calls deliberate water supply cuts within the Mangaung Metro Municipality (MMM) and Kopanong Municipalities by Bloemwater.
According to the Provincial spokesperson, Phillip Kganyago, Bloemwater started implementing water cuts from 01 September 2020, affecting even community members who pay for their services.
“The SACP in the province views the timing of Bloemwater boards’ decision to cut water supply due to municipal debt during this period of the novel corona virus as inconsiderate of societal and government efforts to fight the virus and restore economic activities,” Kganyago said.
Kganyago added that the move is intended to arm wrestle owing municipalities without regards to the fact that these water cuts inevitably place the lives of people, particularly the working class and the poor at risk of exposure to Covid-19 and also indiscriminately affect normal societal activities critical to human life. The Communist Party said this is affecting residents, businesses, schools, health facilities and other functions and therefore calls on municipalities to pay for bulk water services.
We acknowledge that municipalities have an obligation to pay for bulk services but rejects the risking of human lives by Bloemwater in an intergovernmental bargain for debt repayment by other government entities.
On the other hand the Mangaung Metro Municipality has dispelled rumours of water shutdown by the service provider, Bloemwater. The Afrikan Post has learned that water cuts are still taking place in some areas in Mangaung and residents have expressed their frustrations over these water cuts because they happen randomly without notice.
The municipal spokesperson, Qondile Khedama, said they dispel a blanket communiqué as issued by Bloemwater on water shutdown and would like to assure residents of Mangaung that there will not be a water shutdown and any interruptions should be treated as normal temporary interruptions.
He added that the city is in continuous engagements with the entity in ensuring that the citizens of Mangaung do not suffer as a result of an avoidable tussle amongst themselves and the service provider.
The SACP has called for direct and immediate intervention by the Department of Water and Sanitation, the Provincial Treasury and the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs to resolve this impasse with binding commitments.
Kganyago said they have on numerous occasions implored municipalities to honour their contractual and financial obligations, such as paying relevant authorities to act against financial mismanagement and corruption.
“The problems of financial mismanagement in municipalities remain rife. It was efforts of the SACP that pushed for the Auditor General to also be given binding powers to recoup lost money from individuals due to mismanagement,” Kganyago added.
The communist party prides itself in that their call for action is yielding results here and there but they want focused action and arrests. The Mangaung municipality alone owes the service provider more than R1 Billion. The SACP said “In this regard, Municipalities must improve their revenue collection strategies and ensure they pay bulk services. It’s about sound financial management which is lacking in most municipalities.”