Em­fu­leni debt leaves res­i­dents with low­ered wa­ter pres­sure

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - MASABATA MKWANANZI @Sa­bie_M

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.”

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