Talk of the Town

Crisis: taps dry, sewage in river


Raw sewage, and who knows what else, flowing into the Bloukrans River and on into the Kowie River from Makhanda’s collapsed sewage works is nothing new.

There are three amazing things about the recent uproar over this which was confirmed in the legislatur­e by the Cogta MEC.

The first is that what comes Port Alfred’s way from upstream isn’t much worse; the second is instead of addressing the problem, Makana’s leadership has chosen to shoot the messenger; and the third is, Port Alfred hasn’t sent a deputation to Makhanda to tell them to get their house in order.

We are reassured Ndlambe Municipali­ty is conducting tests on the water as it enters the Kowie, and look forward to the results being publicised and hope the municipali­ty will use its muscle to put pressure on the upstream neighbours.

Parts of town have had no water or had intermitte­nt supply since the beginning of the month.

In a statement issued on Monday, Ndlambe spokespers­on Cecil Mbolekwa said: “This is as a result of the contractor [QFS] that is appointed for the constructi­on and operation of the reverse osmosis [RO] plant suspending their operations.”

The suspension was a result of a contractua­l dispute.

“The municipali­ty is engaging with the contractor to resolve these issues ... ”

Port Alfred’s daily requiremen­t is 6ML. While the supply from the Sarel Hayward reservoir had not been interrupte­d, less water and less pressure meant high-lying areas were not receiving water.

The Thornhill junction water tower will solve some of the town’s water pressure problems and was due for completion by July, but the contractor, Mamlambo Constructi­on, went into voluntary liquidatio­n in May and work came to a halt. In midSeptemb­er, Ndlambe told Talk of the Town it was anticipate­d work would recommence that month under a new contractor.

This week, we asked Ndlambe whether a contractor had been apppointed, when work would resume, and would court action be considered.

Ndlambe responded: “We are in the process of terminatin­g the contract with Mamlambo. Once [this has been] finalised, we will be able to claim the guarantees from the contract, which is 10%.

“It is only then a contractor will be appointed. We are still in discussion­s with QFS, [which will determine] whether we will go to court. Please note the issue of QFS will still be discussed in council.”

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