Sedibeng Water: Problem lies with municipalities - AfriForum

Organisation speechless about decision to dissolve water board instead of holding municipalities accountable

AfriForum: Sedibeng Water dissolved instead of holding municipalities accountable

27 January 2022 

The civil rights organisation AfriForum is rendered speechless about Senzo Mchunu, Minister of Water and Sanitation’s, decision to dissolve the Sedibeng Water Board. The problem, however, lies with municipalities that do not pay the water board for the water they receive whilst the residents in turn pay the municipalities. As a result, the residents and water board get the bad end of the stick due to the municipalities non-payment.

According to Lambert De Klerk, AfriForum’s Manager for Environmental Affairs, AfriForum is concerned about the dissolvement of a water board that has existed for 43 years. “The question that must be asked is whether the minister is going to dissolve every water board when it begins to struggle instead of dealing harshly with municipalities? By taking this decision the Minister places more pressure on Bloem and Magalies Water that already struggle due to non-payment by the municipalities,” De Klerk adds.

Unfortunately municipalities and municipal managers are declared untouchable by the ANC and state departments are too scared to hold the complex network of deployed cadres responsible. “It is clear that the Minister of Water and Sanitation and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta), do not communicate with each other and the biggest issue that arises from this matter is something that AfriForum suspects for some time now namely that national government has lost control over local authorities. Local municipalities do what they want and gets away with it,” says De Klerk.

Different spheres and state departments ought to work together and Cogta is compelled to get this done. It is very clear that Dlamini-Zuma was not successful in achieving this and this is the purpose of her ministry.

In the past AfriForum made proposals to the Department on how the water boards, as well as Eskom, can collect money from the municipalities by using a collecting system, but it fell on deaf ears. This is why AfriForum and the Mafube Business Forum today are in the Free State High Court in Bloemfontein to challenge president Cyril Ramaphosa and 16 other respondents to ensure service delivery in the Mafube Local Municipality.

Issued by Carina Bester, Media Relations Officer, AfriForum, 27 January 2022