Capricorn District Municipality (CDM) Executive Mayor John Mpe is confident that community water forums will help to alleviate and reduce service delivery protests as it will provide communities a voice in the management and delivery of water and sanitation services in their own areas.
Mpe took the podium at the launch of the Community Water Forum for the Polokwane municipal area at the Ngoako Ramatlhodi Indoor Sports Complex in Seshego last Thursday. Forums for the Blouberg, Lepelle-Nkumpi and Molemole municipal areas are already active.
The event was attended by representatives of the departments of Water and Sanitation; Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs, the South African Local Government Association, Lepelle Northern Water, traditional authorities and local municipalities and their ward committees.
In his keynote address Mpe said the launch was in response to a call made by Minister of Water and Sanitation, Nomvula Mokonyane that municipalities should establish water and sanitation forums to address growing water and sanitation challenges that communities may be faced with and alluded to the fact that Capricorn District has been identified as a hotspot in terms of water supply challenges.
Mpe explained that the forums will assist in detecting water leaks and report malfunctioning boreholes, sewer spillage, illegal connections, theft and vandalism of infrastructure. “The forums will provide platforms for people to articulate their grievances on water delivery. The forums will be largely community-driven and they will empower aggrieved residents to have a say on the management of water issues,” Mpe said and added that the forums will assist with campaigns to educate communities about saving water and changing daily habits to make sure that water is preserved and conserved.
According to Mpe, the forums will also work with project steering committees on newly implemented projects and share information about status of projects. “If a new project doesn’t work, the municipality and the community will know before a contractor is even paid so that we can correct the situation instead of leaving it to be a burden and white elephant,” Mpe said.
“The forums will be our water champions in terms of helping us to improve service standards and the turn-around time in addressing the plight of our people, putting an end to theft of transformers, illegal connections and other challenges,” Mpe concluded.
Story, photos & video: BARRY VILJOEN