Humanitarian crisis looms at Blyvooruitzicht

By Ina Cilliers MPL, DA Constituency Head: Merafong:

The DA calls on Gauteng Premier David Makhura to convene an emergency cabinet meeting over the potential humanitarian crisis which is developing in Blyvooruitzicht on the far West Rand.

Two weeks ago the Merafong Municipality disconnected water supply to the area because the local Blyvooruitsicht Mine is in the process of liquidation and has failed to pay its municipal accounts.

There is only one water pipeline to the area which feeds the mine and its surrounds.

Water to Laerskool Blyvooruitsicht, Ekupakamei Primary and Rocklands Primary was disconnected two weeks ago by the municipality.

The Gauteng Department of Education has taken steps to address this matter by installing water tankers at the schools, and water is being severely rationed to ensure sufficient supply for all the schools’ needs.

The problem is compounded by the fact that residents in the area, also effected by the shortages have started demanding that the school start sharing its water with them.

In one instance the community had to be calmed down before the situation spiralled out of control.

While Gauteng Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi has been in communication with the municipality to ensure that the schools in the area would not be affected, the problem has now extended beyond his brief, and requires a concerted and coordinated government intervention.

Innocent people are being forced to suffer because of the mine’s closure, and government has a constitutional duty to ensure that water supply is not interrupted.

The impending closure of the Blyvooruitzicht Mine will already have a disastrous effect on people’s livelihoods, and Premier Makhura and his Cabinet must do everything in their power to reduce the impact the potential loss of income will have.