Tyres burn over water shortages in Somerset East

Issued by Vicky Knoetze, MPL
Shadow MEC for COGTA

Yesterday residents of Somerset East, in the Blue Crane Route Municipality (BCRM), took to the streets in frustration as they have been without water for up to 23 days in December and no water for up to 15 days in January!

Somerset East residents have been without their basic Constitutional human right of access to water for 38 days.

A resident protests against Blue Crane Route municipal manager, Thabiso Klaas, outside a municipal office in Somerset East.

Tyres burn outside Blue Crane Route municipal office in Somerset East as residents have gone without water for 38 days since December.

There is no drought in the area, the dams are overflowing, and the Orange River supply is strong.

The Democratic Alliance is calling on COGTA MEC, Xolile Nqatha, to urgently intervene, and will also be laying criminal charges against municipal officials.

Residents and councillors in the BCRM have been denied any access to reliable information in terms of the cause of the situation, nor have they been given any timeline for resolving the problem.

Yesterday, when managers were confronted by angry residents, there were only excuses – vandalism, vacancy of critical posts and budget constraints.

No timeline was given for restoring the water supply.

This situation is a result of maladministration and mismanagement of the highest order.

The DA has again written to MEC Nqatha, to request his urgent intervention, and to call for an investigation into the conduct of the municipal manager, Thabiso Klaas, and the director of technical services, Ayanda Gaji¸ relating to the manner in which this catastrophe was handled.

In December, the DA laid a complaint to the Human Rights Commission regarding the ongoing mismanagement of the municipality’s water supply and requested their urgent intervention.

The DA will continue to hold officials to account and fight for access to basic human rights for all people.