Municipality’s cooperation in provision of water is crucial

An open letter from the Nkomazi East Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Association (Neccta):

The mayor and municipal manager promised Komatipoort taxpayers certain relief in a letter dated February 10, 2015, and a lot has been done to date Yet, this weekend evidenced again that too little is done. Communication from Nkomazi Local Municipality (NLM) is inadequate.

According to Neccta’s convenor Jan Engelbrecht, the elevation of the weirs cannot be stayed any longer, and what surfaced is that the failure to purchase a 200-KVA mobile generator as promised by NLM, has resulted in a total lack of water for all Komatipoort residents.

Engelbrecht has information of what transpired on the municipal side. He requested that the mayor present a formal letter to Neccta of what transpired and what NLM was doing.

It would not be proper if he discloses what he discovered is considered to be done by NLM. That letter had not reached Neccta. Engelbrecht reiterated that the association is aware of the work and time spent by officials; work well appreciated and done by the officials Dudu Sifunda and Sifiso Nkhala. Unfortunately, on NLM’s management level, little feedback is given to the community. The communication of the crisis centre reaches only a few and has little value. It is from Neccta’s side and the private sector (and here Securicon is mentioned) where most communication runs out.

In as far as the weekend is concerned, and no water again available to households for approximately a day, Engelbrecht explains that during February the mobile generator was requested as a solution for the larger Nkomazi area, should crises like the weekend emanate anywhere.

After the recent power outage, restoring power into the grid caused feed lines to blow. These include the feed of electricity to the water-purification site. Consequently no electricity was available to pump water from the purification site to the reservoirs. And evidently no water could be stored to be released to the town. The mobile generator would have been such a relief that no resident would have had to be without water, even if no electricity was available. The failure of NLM to have this back-up available had the result that no water was available to mostly the old and the poor – who cannot afford private storage. Hospitality owners also suffered embarrassment. Neccta praises Nhkala and his team who worked through the night to restore power. The challenge of Komatipoort is a management one, where leadership should ensure that all matters are properly attended to. Delegated officials cannot do what exceeds their level. The acquisition of the mobile generator is a matter that can only be entertained on management level.

Engelbrecht hopes that NLM will formally reply to Neccta regarding the programme of water and electricity provision for the town. It is overdue. This report will be passed on to the community, so that all know what to expect and when. Engelbrecht is of the opinion that most inhabitants will be grateful when they read it, provided that it contains what he has discovered from his own efforts. If what he has been informed of is correct, procurement is the only delay before both river pump houses will be equipped and the crossover electricity supply in place. This will ensure consistent water provision at all times. He also expresses hope that the elevation of the weirs and the immediate acquisition of the mobile generator will now be part of that, and not delayed.

This past weekend the private sector again offered assistance to the municipality, to expedite restoration of electricity. TSB availed a 200-KVA generator to facilitate the provision of water from a storage facility to households. Regrettably NLM did nothing to bring water by means of either water carts to households, or tendered any other alternative relief.

The private sector similarly offered to raise the weirs. If Nkomazi continues to not deliver essential services, the community will take matters into its own hands. It is an undesired situation. To refuse the private sector’s help, and then not deliver is fatal. Neccta has always promoted a support relationship, but presently begins to doubt whether NLM can be trusted to do what is required, if it refuses that the private sector intervenes or when it declines proposals to join forces and get the work done. Appreciating all the work done by the officials, and locals, Neccta now hopes to receive the formal report from the mayor.


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