Mercoledì, 24 Febbraio 2016 09:09

<div> | Mpuma municipal official allegedly fed residents 'black' water</div>

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Emakhazeni - The Emakhazeni local municipality in Mpumalangais investigating an official who is accused of deliberately supplying dirtywater to the community of Siyathuthuka township in Emakhazeni.

The municipality’s executive mayor Hamza Ngwenya

confirmedwith a News24 Correspondent that an investigation was under way and that theofficial has since been moved from his position.

“There’s an employee who is suspected of channelling waterdirectly from the dams bypassing the water purification process and feeding itdirectly to the community for consumption. This is a matter the municipality isstill establishing the facts [about] with a view to deal with itadministratively,” said Ngwenya on Wednesday.

On Monday, the entire township was brought to a standstill,when the community blocked all access roads to protest against dirty water andallegations of corruption by an official in the municipality.

Residents claim that the upheaval was sparked off by theflow of dirty black water from taps for more than a week.

“For more than seven days we were forced to buy water fordrinking and bathing because the tap water was so dirty and black,” said aprotesting resident who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Another resident said a local hospital advised him to boilwater before consumption after his daughter fell sick, which could be anindication that the illness may have been caused by the water quality.

‘Difficult’ for the municipality

Provincial health department spokesperson Chris Nobelaconfirmed an increase in the number of patients with sicknesses that could belinked to the consumption of untreated water.

He said this, however, happened in December 2015.

“Between the 17th and 25th December (2015), the HA GroveHospital in Emakhazeni treated 19 patients for stomach cramps and diarrhoea,and the patients were being advised to boil the water before use, and sincethen the situation has normalised,” said Nobela.

Ngwenya acknowledged that it was difficult for the municipalityto deal with the matter.

He said as a precautionary measure, the municipality hasshifted the official responsible for the water treatment plant to anotherdepartment while investigations were still continuing.

“The issue of water quality cannot be resolved overnight,especially if it is true that there’s a person who is sabotaging [efforts tosupply clean water]. I’m told by the manager that the suspect has been removedfrom the plant and placed in another department,” said Ngwenya.

He also disclosed that the water infrastructure inEmakhazeni local municipality was no longer capable to match the township’s rapidgrowth.

“Our infrastructure is no longer able to keep up with thepopulation growth, while there has never been the upgrading of the infrastructure,”said Ngwenya.


He said, however, the department of water affairs would beinstalling the requisite infrastructure.

“There’s a project that we are going to be implementingthrough the [national] department of water and sanitation to improve the waterinfrastructure. According to the department of (water and sanitation), thecontractor would be on site by April,” said Ngwenya.

In terms of the department of water affairs’ Blue Drop wateraudits conducted in 2014, Emakhazeni is described as Mpumalanga province’s 8thworst performing water service authority of the province’s 18 municipalities.

Emakhazeni’s overall Blue Drop score is a mere 50%.

“The Municipality has not maintained a comprehensive watersafety planning process since the previous water safety plan was developed in2012. Corrective actions identified in the 2012 risk assessment are stilloutstanding and limited implementation of any recommendations provided in the2013 process audits,” reads the report.

The only time Emakhazeni’s water quality received a BlueDrop certification was in 2011 when it achieved a score of 89%.

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