Water and Sanitation Deputy Minister, Judith Tshabalala, has assured residents in the Rustenburg Local Municipality, who are affected by sewer blockages and overflowing manholes, that their challenges will be resolved.
Tshabalala met with the residents of Zanniaville, Zeindeling and Boom during a ministerial oversight visit in Rustenburg Local Municipality, North West, on Tuesday.
Tshabalala visited the province to assess its state and challenges, with the aim of crafting solutions to the water and sanitation challenges in Rustenburg.
The Deputy Minister's visit was prompted by the municipality's challenge with the drinking water supply, which has resulted in intermittent supply and rationing of water, with the failure of the sewer network infrastructure causing the overflow of manholes.
Tshabalala met with various representatives from organisations, including Bojanala District Municipality, Magalies Water, Royal Bafokeng, Zinniaville Ratepayers' Association, Rand Water, Glencore, Elands Mines, Anglo Platinum, Sibanye Water and the Business Chamber.
Following the engagement with the stakeholders, the Deputy Minister visited Zanniaville, Zeindeling and Boom, which are some of the residential areas that are badly affected by manholes overflowing and blockages of sewers.
Tshabalala told the residents that the department is going to monitor the situation very closely.
"I am told that a contractor has been appointed to fix all these blockages and spillages and they will be commencing on 1 June 2023. We will come back soon. Our people deserve better," Tshabalala said.
She also slammed the bureaucratic processes that delay procurement progress, which in turn denies people services.
Tshabalala heard that the municipality is also encountering some water supply shortages in different areas due to various reasons, including load shedding affecting the Magalies water supply and Bospoort Water Treatment Works (WTA) supply areas, as well as breakdowns due to pipe bursts.
The capacity of Bospoort Water Treatment Works (WTW) is 12 megalitres per day (Ml/d).
In an effort to address the issue of water supply that gets interrupted due to load shedding, the municipality said it has written a letter to Eskom requesting to be exempted from load shedding at Bospoort WTW.
As a short-term measure, the municipality said it is going out on tender for a backup generator.
The long-term solution is to have a dedicated electrical line in place only to service the Bospoort WTW, separate to the line that supplies electricity to the residential area.
Other factors, which are attributing to water supply challenges in the municipality, include old asbestos cement pipes bursting frequently, high levels of non-water revenue, and a number of non-operational pump stations.
Water and Sanitation's North West Provincial Head, Chadwick Lobakeng, advised the municipality to look into implementing water restrictions in order to manage the current demand and supply.
"Mining companies utilise a huge amount of water for their daily operations, hence we requested them to use less water and also replace some of their quotas with water from treated effluent," Lobakeng said.
Lobakeng also indicated that the electricity supply is not adequate and high lying areas do not have water due to low pressure in the system, and this is caused by high demand during summer.
Tshabalala said the cholera outbreak should serve as an eye-opener that "water is life, and should be managed with care".