Mothotlung: Council wary of appointing water technician

Three people died this week in confrontations with police following a service delivery protest over water. (Alet Pretorius, Gallo)

Three people died this week in confrontations with police following a service delivery protest over water. (Alet Pretorius, Gallo)

The Madibeng municipal council on Thursday seemed reluctant to investigate the possibility of appointing a permanent technician to deal strictly with the maintenance of the plant supplying water to Damonsville, Mothotlung and other surrounding areas. This week, three people died in confrontations with the police following a service delivery protest over water. The areas of Mothotlung and Damonsville have been without consistent water since August last year.

At a municipal council session on Thursday, DA councillor Leon Basson said he was concerned that the reluctance to make a decision about appointing a permanent technician to deal with the water plant, created the impression the municipality was trying to hide something. "They are afraid that the blame for not dealing with the crisis will be on them," he later told the Mail & Guardian. "I don't buy this theory of sabotage because the pumps are situated in a confined area with security. They are situated in a building in Brits. The water pump that were supposedly sabotaged – if they were sabotaged – why were the other two standby pumps not functioning for two years?"

In a council session, ANC municipal chief whip Solly Malete said the municipal manager would have to decide on the appointments of staff but they would ensure that other views are taken into consideration.

In an interview with the M&G, Malete said the main pipe supplying water to Mothotlung, Damonsville and other surrounding areas was sabotaged by the theft of supporting clamps that held the pipe up, causing it to collapse. He said water was then supplied using two smaller pumps, which quickly buckled under increased pressure.

Malete added that the water plant was being refurbished, a process which was expected to be completed in February. He said its capacity was also being extended, which would allow it to deal with the sometimes high levels of algae from the source (the Hartebeespoortdam and the Jukskei river).

The Bojanala District Municipality and the Madibeng municipality have said they will assist the families of the bereaved with funeral arrangements. The families of Mike Tshele, Osia Rahube and Lerato Seema will all be holding separate funerals this weekend. Rahube and Seema will be buried on Sunday, while Tshele will be buried on Saturday.   

Kwanele Sosibo

Kwanele Sosibo

Kwanele Sosibo studied journalism at Durban's ML Sultan Technikon before working at Independent Newspapers from 2000 to 2003. In 2005, he joined the Mail & Guardian's internship programme and later worked as a reporter at the paper between 2006 and 2008, before working as a researcher. He was the inaugural Eugene Saldanha Fellow in 2011.
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