Members Statement: Stutterheim needs urgent intervention now

Issued by Yusuf Cassim, MPL
Shadow MEC for Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism

The community of Stutterheim is faced with an impending jobs bloodbath, and untreated wastewater is running into the rivers and ending up in the dams that supply areas of BCM with water.

MEC Nqatha, I am afraid that you may have been misled by the local municipality in question, as the responses provided by yourself in the house sitting that took place yesterday, seems to not capture the reality faced by local businesses and residents of Stutterheim.

The information that you were provided with, MEC, states that the electric grid that supplies the community is fully functional. In fact, that very electric grid has been faulty for a long time, despite the assurances given to you by the local municipality. Businesses are suffering, and local community members are close to loosing their jobs as a result of this.

MEC, the reality regarding the wastewater plant has been downplayed by the municipality. Yes, a generator was installed at the plant in February 2020, but you have not been provided with the entire reality of the situation. The generator that is being uitilised at the wastewater treatment plant does not allow the water to be fully treated, resulting in the water exiting the plant being less than 50% treated.

The information that you have been provided with, does not come close to the reality of the situation, and as a result of this I urge you to meet with local business owners and residents to hear the truth first hand. Businesses are eager to assist the municipality, but they need to be heard.

In order to create and sustain jobs, we must have an environment for businesses to thrive. Businesses cannot operate when the electricity is down and when the electricity is down, they cannot be supplied with water.

The faulty electric grid has resulted in more down time with no electricity from January to July this year, than what was experienced the entire 2019. These are not signs of an electric grid that is fully operational.

As a result of the constant interrupted supply of electricity and water, businesses are losing millions per day in production costs and if the current conditions are not rectified as a matter of urgency, local business will be forced to move, and thousands of families will be left without a source of income.

Local companies have now reached a point where they are willing to pay for the upgrades to save thousands of jobs and even create more employment.

MEC, please meet with the residents and businesses of Stutterheim. This in turn could lead to job security, job creation and result in protecting our fresh water supply.