Deputy Minister of Water and Sanitation, David Mahlobo, has apologised for the recent water cuts in the North West.
Water provision in the province was interrupted after employees at the bulk water supplier Sedibeng Water went on strike.
Sedibeng Water says municipalities in the North West, Free State and Northern Cape have failed to pay for its water services.
Since last week, residents in many parts of the North West were left without water.
Residents in the capital Mahikeng are the most affected.
“We don’t know when we will get water. At times, when the water comes back, it’s not even clean enough for us to cook or bathe with,” says one resident.
“We are in a COVID pandemic. How should we flush our toilets and bathe our children? How do we talk about hygiene when there is no water?” asks one resident.
In an attempt to intervene and assess the current water crisis, a delegation from the national government led by Mahlobo visited Mahikeng.
Mahlobo was accompanied by North West Premier Bushy Maape and the mayors from the Ngaka Modiri Molema District Municipality and the Mahikeng Local Municipality.
#ServiceDelivery| Deputy Minister David Mahlobo met with several stakeholders at Ngaka Modiri Molema District Municipality in the North West Province this afternoon.@Senzo_Mchunu_@Rand_Water @LepelleW @UmgeniWater @MhlathuzeWater @MagaliesWaterZA pic.twitter.com/dO0WFdw6zh
— Water&SanitationRSA (@DWS_RSA) October 25, 2021
Mahlobo described the water challenges as a travesty.
“We should convey our sincere regret and apologies that over the past few days, we have exposed people to conditions that are unbearable – where they couldn’t access water,” says Mahlobo.
Mahlobo says issues relating to finances are being attended to in efforts to resolve the water crisis.
“After the intervention of Minister Mchunu, one of the problems with this was the issue that the financial position of our institution is not good. They were unable to do certain things. Those matters are being attended to and water is being returned,” adds Mahlobo.
MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Lena Miga says commitments have also been made for the affected municipalities to pay the bulk water supplier over R13-million for outstanding debt.
“I can confirm that Maquassi Hills, for example, had committed R1-million and they paid it. The Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati had committed R10-million. They will soon be sending us confirmation of payment. Ngaka Modiri Molema had committed R1.5 million, Ditsobotla Local Municipality had committed to R600 000 as a payment to also assist,” says Miga.
Sedibeng Water is owed almost R7-billion in outstanding debt by 14 municipalities in three provinces, including the North West.
David Mahlobo apologises for water cuts: