Informal settlement residents should exercise patience, government will provide services
The Department of Water and Sanitation always strives to make allocation of water for all citizens residing in South Africa. The department needs municipalities to submit business plans annually in order to plan and budget allocation for the following financial year.
These plans include either upgrading of existing Water Treatment Plants for potable water or Waste Water Treatment Plants for sewage treatment. It is also the municipalities’ responsibility to make sure that they have projections for increasing populations within their municipal areas and plan accordingly for water allocation as well as sanitation facilities.
Informal settlements mushroom almost overnight in all towns as more people move nearer to the cities and towns to seek job and other opportunities. It is imperative to understand, especially for communities who take to the streets to protest and complain to media, that constructing water infrastructure is a time consuming endeavour. There are steps involved in planning, designing and ultimately constructing water and sanitation infrastructure. This is also impacted upon by the requirement to formalise an informal settlement before such projects can be implemented. It is important to note that the formalising informal settlements is not within the jurisdiction of the DWS and therefore is a separate function and process. All the three spheres of government are working together in making sure that the basic rights of individuals are realised.
Plans are evaluated first, approved and budget allocated to municipalities for earmarked projects. The funds are only released when an agreed portion of work is done and invoices are tendered for that specific portion of work, which work must also be verified before payment is effected.
In a recent bulletin on a media platform a lady alleged that her son could not attend school because he has to collect water with buckets eleven killometres from his home. They are both residing at Slovo Park in Brandfort.
It should be noted that Slovo Park is still an informal settlement and as a result the Municipality is unable to provide sustainable running tap water in the area. However, the Municipality is tankering water to the 861 households in the area. The delivery of potable water is done on daily basis, particularly during weekdays to the three (10 000 litres X 2 and 15 000 litres X 1) water tanks, placed in three strategic areas.
Slovo Park is also located next to a formal area named Mountainview Extension 4 which has amenities such as running water and Slovo Park residents are able to get water from there to augment their water supply.
Masilonyana Municipality stated that there has been progress made in the process of formalising Slovo Park as Township Establishment is at a Public and Stakeholder Consultation stage for the approval of the Environmental Impact Assessment. Subsequently, an application for the approval of the Township General Layout Plan will be submitted to the Municipal Planning Tribunal. Thereafter surveying and pegging of sites will be done and Erf numbers will be issued to various the beneficiaries.
Masilonyana Municipality has further pointed out that the process for formalisation of Slovo Park will run concurrently with submission of business plans to relevant departments for necessary bulk infrastructure services, such as water and sanitation.
The community of this informal settlement are requested to exercise patience and start a dialogue with their councillors or municipal representatives before taking to the streets.
Source: Government of South Africa