Deputy Minister David Mahlobo instructs Madibeng Local Municipality to prioritise water supply in the area
Deputy Minister of Water and Sanitation has instructed Madibeng Local Municipality to develop an action plan that will assist in ensuring that communities are supplied with adequate and quality water.
He made this directive during his visit to the municipality on Thursday, 19 March 2020, accompanied by members of the National Rapid Response Task Team and Department of Water and Sanitation North West Provincial Head, Mr Chadwick Lobakeng. The visit by Deputy Minister Mahlobo was as a result of a video circulating on social media purporting that the quality of drinking water in Madibeng is of questionable standard. Upon being alerted of the video, he went on a fact finding mission to the area in an effort to intervene and mobilise resources to assist the municipality.
Their first stop was at Brits Water Treatment Plant and proceeded to the Brits Waste Water Treatment Works where they inspected the conditions of these two critical plants.
The capacity of the Brits Water Treatment Works is being upgraded from 60 to 80 megaliters per day and Magalies Water is the appointed implementing agent and the Operation and Maintenance is done by Madibeng Local Municipality.
Deputy Minister Mahlobo bemoaned the state of the plants and expressed that operations and maintenance needed to be prioritised so that they function optimally to meet the needs of the community.
“When I came around the corner my heart was shattered to see the state of this municipal asset, it does not look like a Water Treatment Plant and the vegetation is growing everywhere and uncut. Even the staff working here is not safe and there is a need to also take Occupational Health and Safety into consideration”, he said.
The upgrade of the plant has taken longer than anticipated which has resulted in demand of water far exceeding the current supply. The delay in the upgrade also affected infrastructure which was meant to drastically address the deterioration of raw water quality. As a result the water treatment process is incomplete and that is also evident in the partially treated water produced by the plant, which does not meet minimum standards required for drinking water.
“The Brits Water Treatment Plant is allowing sand from the sand filters and silt to pass through to the reservoirs and it ends up in the people’s homes and the water at times looks brown”, remarked Mahlobo.
Due to this nature, the Deputy Minister directed the technical team from Magalies Water, Department and Madibeng to work immediately on precautionary measures to be taken, while utilizing water that is being produced.
The site visit to the Waste Water Treatment Works presented the similar concerns as the maintenance factor is also non-existent with regards to the outside appearance. Most of the operational units from the head of works; primary settling tanks and secondary settling tanks were not fully functional; as a result the plant was discharging partially treated effluent which is a health risk to the downstream users of the Crocodile River.
Deputy Minister Mahlobo indicated that the Department will monitor actions being taken by the municipality to address the current challenges and they not implement, the Department will take enforcement actions as a regulator in the sector.
Source: Government of South Africa