The Kgetlengrivier Concerned Citizens group, which consists of residents from various areas under the municipality including Koster, Derby, and Swartruggens, wants the local authority to permanently hand over the maintenance of its water plant and sewerage system to it.
Koster Water and Sewage systems were maintained by the Magalies Water Board, after being handed back to the Kgetlengrivier Local Municipality last month.
But in less than two weeks, residents found themselves facing the same water and sewer problems.
Again, the Kgetlengrivier Concerned Group had to step in.
The group says its services cost over R15 million which the municipality promised to repay. But that promise has not been fulfilled.
The group’s Carel van Heerden says: “As a result of the non-compliance of the Magalies Water at the sewerage plant and at the water plant we took it back and we are now operating the plants as per court order and it’s going very well now. Everything is working 100% but we’re heading for the High Court again on the 22nd of April because we want the money that they owe us. They promised that on the 9th of April we’ll get money but we don’t trust me.”
The North West Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs says a payment arrangement has been done.
Seth Ramagaga of the North West Cooperative Governance says: “We said we’d pay around the 18th or 24th but because that was close to the end of the provincial and national financial year, systems were closing down and as a result, we missed the 24th target as agreed. But we then wrote to them to explain exactly that and made a commitment that as soon as the system is up and running we will immediately process their invoices for payment.”
Meanwhile, local businesses and residents are relieved.
A business owner, Johan Landsburg, says: “The people who run the place I think they have a good experience because it’s much better when they took over. There’s no smell in the evening and during the day you don’t smell it and evening you don’t smell it. Nobody wants to come here because this is a holiday resort. They don’t want to come and have a vocation here when the place is sticking like hell.”
“We can see some changes since the other group took over we can see some changes. They have also started fixing pipes,” says a Koster resident.
Another resident adds: “The municipality does not have the capability. We have since reported sewage spillage at our local creche week before last.”
But the battle is far from over.
The department of Cooperative Governance says it is not in line with government laws to hand over assets to private entities.
“The municipality of course does not have the capacity to operate and run the treatment plants but we believe that with support from the provincial and national government, as the Constitution demands, we should be able together working with the municipality, do it. Assets of the municipality cannot be handed over to private hands even if these people are residents of the municipality,” adds Ramagaga.
The Kgetlengrivier Concerned Citizens has lodged an application in the High Court in the North West for the court to handover the local municipality’s duty to take care of the local sewer and water treatment plant to it.
The matter has been set down for April 22.