MEC for Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs, Mmoloki Cwaile has welcomed the North West High Court ruling which directs the Kgetlengrivier Concerned Citizens to immediately hand over back the water treatment plants to Magalies Water as per the court order issued on 12 January this year.
The court has further ordered interdicted the Concerned Citizens from blocking the entrance and egress of the water and waste water treatment plants situated in Koster and Swartuggens and directed that neither the department nor the municipality will not be liable for the operational costs incurred by the Concerned Citizens as a result of their unlawful conduct of retaking the plants.
In reaction to today’s court judgement, MEC Cwaile said, “the Kgetlengrivier Concerned Citizens reneged on an arrangement which all parties agreed on that they will hand over the water and waste treatment plants to Magalies Water as an implement agent. We have been vindicated because we said from the onset that we cannot allow a situation where the infrastructure is managed and controlled by private people. We can’t allow our safety of the community of Kgetlengrivier compromised by having the plants controlled by unauthorised people”, he said.
The Concerned Citizens’s re-took over the plant in March after it was handed over to Magalies Water as per the agreement of all parties (Concerned Citizens included), lamenting non-payment by the department for the work done while they occupied the plants between January and February.
“They denied the officials of Magalies Water access to the plants raising an issue of non- payment by the department, in spite of their lawyer having been informed about the delay in payment due to the closure of the financial payment systems at the end of the financial year 2020/21”, said MEC Cwaile.
The department has since paid over R15 million for the operations and maintenance of the plants as well as their legal costs which was one of the conditions contained in the settlement court order.
Meanwhile, MEC Cwaile has called on the municipality of Kgetlengrivier to make sure they accelerate service delivery to the community and urged Magalies Water to occupy the plants as a matter urgency to avoid water services disruptions. “We call on the rate payers to work with government in adding a positive impetus to our people’s desire for a better life and redress on any other concerns”. The Provincial Executive Council has resolved to provide an increased support to Kgetlengrivier and other municipalities, through the District Development Model, working with the national government.
Source: Government of South Africa