Water is precious, and when people do not receive this fundamental life-sustaining essential, it reveals a fault by the Government of South Africa who fails miserably on service deliveries. The SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has launched investigations into several municipalities who have violated fundamental human rights by not delivering essential services to their communities throughout South Africa.
The Madibeng Local Municipality located in the North West province of South Africa has experienced water problems since 1994 and some areas do not have any water at all. Service delivery protests have rocked the area and authorities continue to fail the people. Complaints brought to municipal workers fail on deaf ears. Informal settlements around South Africa are the hardest hit with no water and dependent on tankers to deliver this fundamental necessity.
Madibeng is not the only municipality that experiences nondelivery of primary service deliveries and a report issued characterizes high levels of wasteful and irregular expenditure. Billions of rands are lost in tender fraud processes and incompetence. The government fails to punish or remove counselors who have failed in its constitutional obligations to provide basic services such as water.
South Africa Government faults on Service Delivery and protests happen all the time; people are frustrated with municipality officials who do not attend to grievances. A protest in Jerico and Letlhabile of the Madibeng district during March this year over water issues was the cause of municipal and tribal offices set alight. A water tanker was burned, burning tires lined the streets, and other counselor properties were destroyed by fire. The officials called for calm and said that violent protests were not a solution, as further damage to infrastructure caused problems to escalate. Residents have exhausted every avenue to get the officials to attend to the urgency of supplying water.
The suspension of the premier in 2009 was short lived and he was back in the top seat controlling the Madibeng municipality. A fearful person likened to the mafia where people are afraid to speak up against the kingpin of Madibeng. Kickbacks are rolling in, and people live in fear of saying anything against the premier who is a controlling person. The premier takes responsibility for placing people in positions within the council, and no doubt nepotism is strong. The premier was accused of corruption and denies any wrongdoing. The luxurious homes and string of expensive cars the premier owns is apparently from wealth accumulated personally.
Water trucks costing over ZAR15 million a year to deliver water is not a safe way of carrying water. Residents have to pay a fortune for water and with no running water in homes and people are forced to get water from tankers. Money is paid to contractors to perform certain duties, but the work does not get done. There are no investigations into corrupt contracts thereby allowing the corruption to continue in this community and the rest of South Africa.
The management of Madibeng has deteriorated into a severe crisis. Evil councilors are still receiving kickbacks for tender fraud, favors, and falsifying invoices for personal gain. Six years ago the Madibeng district was bankrupt and placed under administration. There is no money to get the water infrastructure working, and clean water costs a fortune for residents who are forced to buy from tankers. The missing millions of Madibeng would require extensive investigations. Money missing that should have trickled down to the people and service deliveries.
Residents cannot drink the water as raw sewage, abattoir contents, the blood of dead animals flood into the Crocodile River that fills dams reserved for drinking water. Tests revealed that chrome arsenic, selenium, and aluminum are present in the water. Lethal chemicals that will kill both young and old.
Residents of Jerico began rebuilding a borehole system from scraps gathered around the town. A borehole the council destroyed. An old reservoir was repaired and the residents are attempting to get water for the community. The council promised to give the town of Jerico water, but nothing has been done, and so residents continue to reconstruct old broken infrastructure. For years, the problem of service deliveries continues throughout South Africa, and the failing of the ANC government grows stronger daily. People want more yet the government fails to ignore the plight of the desperate in South Africa.
Opinion by Laura Oneale
News24 – Madibeng municipality
Photo Courtesy of Sustainable Sanitation Alliance Wikimedia Page – Public Domain License