Infrastructure spanner in works: Daily Dispatch

AGEING infrastructure has been blamed on crippling water shortages that saw a number of Eastern Cape municipalities go without water during the festive season.

Authorities were left with little option but to cart water to villages and townships in Joe Gqabi, Chris Hani and O R Tambo districts and Buffalo City Metro.

The DA said inadequate administrative capacity, vacant technical posts, and ageing water reticulation infrastructure led to the sporadic water interruptions across the province.

The party’s Kobus Botha said he planned to engage local government MEC Fikile Xasa regarding the various water-related problems.

For more than a month, Barkly East residents in Joe Gqabi have been complaining of water problems.

It was the same in Middleburg in the Chris Hani district.

Inxuba Yethemba ward councillor Ludwe Zizi said their water problems occurred “regularly”.

“At times water pumps are not working as our water comes from underground. This problem happens every six months.”

Middleburg’s Wilhelm Stahl Hospital board chairwoman Ada Sammy said people were pointing fingers and shifting the blame instead of solving the problem.

“The hospital staff and patients have endured a lot of suffering because of this problem.”

She accused farmers of deliberately puncturing water pipes to water their fields and allow their cattle to drink.

“That affects the dam as it does not reach the required level,” Sammy said.

The Joe Gqabi Municipality attributed the problems to ageing infrastructure and poor longterm maintenance.

The municipality

said it was one of the few in the country that had not outsourced water provision.

Joe Gqabi’s Fiona Sephton said new pumps and filters had to be brought in to fix the problems.

“The problem in Barkly East was that the water plant could not meet the demand and water carting trucks had to be used,” said Sephton.

The Chris Hani district blamed its water problems on vandalism.

The district spokeswoman Thobeka Mqamelo said technicians were fixing problems in affected areas. —

  • By BONGANI FUZILE and MBALI TANANA
  • bonganif@dispatch.

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