Free State water crisis deepens

Peter Frewen MPL

DA MPL in the Free State Provincial Legislature

The town of Springfontein was left without water supply for almost four weeks due to broken pumps.

Kopanong Municipal Manager assured the DA that pumps would be installed at Springfontein by this afternoon. Water supply should resume shortly after the installation is complete.

Kopanong mayor, Mr XT Matwa blamed the procurement process for delays in repairing the pumps. Matwa claimed that the municipality was waiting for three quotes. Fact is, Bloem Water quoted last week already. Supply Chain Management regulations (regulations as to how purchases are made) make provision to bypass regulations in the case of an emergency.

Kopanong Municipality obviously did not regard a four week water crisis as an emergency otherwise they would have applied a ‘deviation’ (to bypass the regulations) and accepted the one quote.

The water crisis in the Free State continues to deepen with 29 towns regularly experiencing water disruptions.

The water crisis is an indication of the Free State Provincial and local governments’ failure at good governance and proper planning. The ANC-led government is unable to plan and implement effective programmes to establish new water infrastructure and upgrade and maintain existing infrastructure in keeping with demand.

The DA has reported the Free State provincial government to the South African Human Rights Commission (HRC) for investigation in failure to uphold the people’s right to access to safe, clean and sustained water supply. We are awaiting the HRC’s findings.

In a water scarce province like the Free State it is crucial that our water resources are managed effectively.