Emfuleni debt leaves residents with lowered water pressure
RESIDENTS of Emfuleni Municipality in the Vaal have had their water supply reduced by 20% since last week because the council failed to pay a R70 million debt to Rand Water.
The municipality has confirmed the water reduction, but blamed the problem on residents, saying they were failing to pay for their basic services.
Acting municipal manager Stanley Gaba said they had only managed to pay R15m of the bill.
The municipality recently came under the spotlight after it emerged that mayor Simon Mofokeng had splurged more than R1.7m on KFC, Nando’s and expensive hotels, among other wasteful and fruitless expenditure.
Rand Water would not comment on the water reductions, saying it was a municipal problem.
Now, the DA in the municipality wants Human Settlements MEC Paul Mashatile to intervene. “He (Mashatile) must step in and ensure that residents are not deprived of water,” the DA’s Emfuleni caucus leader Daddy Mollo said.
Mollo said residents who live in highlying areas would be especially disadvantaged as water would not be able to reach their homes, while schools, hospitals and old-age homes also faced the threat of water cuts.
He blamed the water reduction squarely on Mofokeng, saying he was prioritising his lavish lifestyle at the expense of residents.
“A municipality must collect revenue so that it can deliver services to residents. However, under the leadership of Mofokeng, things are going from bad to worse and it is the residents of Emfuleni who are bearing the brunt,” he said.
“Mofokeng must do the honourable thing, take his pension and resign from public office.
“We will not stand by and watch how officials and politicians in Emfuleni sit on their hands and abuse public money,” he said.
Mollo urged residents to pay for municipal services so that sufficient services could be provided to the community.
Gaba said the 20% reduced pressure would remain in force until the municipality pays Rand Water the agreed amount.
“Those who are unemployed, receiving grants and child-headed families are urged to register for indigent programmes to enable the municipality to apply for a grant for them.”