Polokwane Municipality will introduce water shedding with immediate effect. In an attempt to ensure that all areas of supply receive a sufficient supply of water for most of the day all reservoir outlets will be shut off from 20:00 until 04:00 on a daily basis.
Municipal Manager Dikgape Makobe announced this intervention during a media briefing at the municipality yesterday (Wednesday) morning, explaining that this will allow reservoir levels to rehabilitate to such an extent that water pressure will be increased and water will also reach the higher catchment areas when it is released in the morning.
This follows after a number of recent service delivery protests in Flora Park and in the Seshego area on Monday where consumers demanded that the municipality should implement decisive action to deal with the water challenges that residents face on a daily basis.
Emotions also ran high during last Thursday evening’s community meeting that was convened to allow residents of Serala View, Fauna and Flora Park to engage with the city’s leadership on service delivery issues and disgruntled residents disrupted the speakers on the podium.
The meeting was Polokwane Municipality’s response to service delivery protests when tyres were burnt and streets blockaded in Flora Park three weeks ago.
Executive Mayor Thembi Nkadimeng was allowed to open the discussion by explaining that the city’s water challenges were the reduced water supply quota from the sources, load shedding affecting pumping capacity, the rapid growth of the city as well as the rural areas that are also receiving water from the bulk supplier, Lepelle Northern Water (LNW) as well as the fact that the municipality had failed to plan properly since 1982.
She was continuously interrupted when she attempted to reply to matters raised from the floor and demands that she should vacate her office and “hand the keys to security”.
A resident claimed that some areas of the city like Môregloed are suffering more than other areas although it is situated close to the Potgieter Street reservoir. “We did not have water for the last month and are totally dependent on water tankers. The tankers move through the area during working hours, making it very difficult for us to access the water,” the irate resident exclaimed and appealed to Nkadimeng to find a solution.
Tempers flamed up when the situation in Mankweng where the services debt has reached in excess of R300 million was raised and Democratic Alliance (DA) cllr Franco Marx was applauded after he appealed to Nkadimeng to rather provide water to the residents of the city that are willing to pay for services. “The DA has warned the council on several occasions that the situation in Mankweng will run out of control if decisive action is not taken but Mankweng’s services were not terminated even though they do not even bother to pay the flat rate of R250 per household that was agreed upon,” Marx said.
A resident who was loudly supported added: “How can residents of Mankweng expect residents from other parts of the city to pay for services in Mankweng if they (the Mankweng residents) are not willing to pay. Those times are over and only residents paying for services should benefit.” The resident also claimed that Mankweng always has water due to the fact that they draw water from the Olifantspoort line even before water reaches the city.
Also strongly supported was a speaker who suggested that residents should only pay for the services that they actually receive. “We need a strong ratepayers’ association that can oppose this municipal regime and any other party will be better,” she said under loud applause.
After several attempts from local clergyman John Mokoena to bring order to the meeting, Nkadimeng was finally given an opportunity to inform consumers that further measures are to be put in place to limit water flow to some lower catchment areas and building up pressure in higher catchment areas such as Ward 20. The residents appeared to be in agreement.
Story and photos: BARRY VILJOEN