by Andrew Louw – Northern Cape Premier Campaign
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Date: 07 February 2019
The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Northern Cape today referred the ongoing water crisis in Gamagara Municipality to the South African Human Rights Commission.
For five months and counting, residents of Gamagara continue to be deprived of their Constitutional right to water, often experiencing water cuts that last between two to four weeks. Water cuts are especially affecting schooling, business and the quality of life of local citizens.
Frustrations in Kathu and Olifantshoek reached boiling point yesterday, as local residents took to the streets in protest. While the DA does not condone any form of violence or destruction, we can also not sit back and watch as the municipality takes the community of Gamagara for fools.
The mayor and municipal management of Gamagara municipality are going out of their way to hide the truth. They blatantly deny that there is a water crisis, whilst people go for weeks with no water. They fail to acknowledge millions of rands worth of outstanding debt owed to Sedibeng municipality, despite it being common knowledge that they are deeply in the red, and that this is aggravating the water cuts. They also pretend that the reservoirs are empty, even going to the extreme measure of removing valves and locking taps with chains, so that the truth cannot be revealed.
The municipality has even ventured to social media to try and turn the water crisis into a racial issue, in a bid to deflect from their own lack of solutions and utter absence of compassion for the people. The DA will not leave this unchecked and will include this baseless racial provocation in our submission to the SAHRC.
While the DA has called on provincial and national government to intervene in this situation, our pleas have fallen on deaf ears. The only way to make government take note of the people’s frustrations now, is to stand up together and demand better service delivery.
The DA is therefore calling on all residents of Gamagara Municipality to join hands on Saturday next week, as all sectors of society march together in a bid to demand urgent action from the municipality in response to the growing water crisis.
We are also in full support of the local petition demanding urgent intervention, that has already garnered hundreds of signatures and appeal to anyone who hasn’t done so yet, to sign the online petition.
We will not tolerate a failing ANC government, that cares nothing for the people whom it is meant to serve.
The DA will do everything in its power, as an opposition party, to help the community of Gamagara receive the services that they deserve. In the long term, however, the only hope of securing a sustainable water source for Gamagara residents, is to vote out the failing ANC government.
Only change under a DA-led government, can bring back infrastructure maintenance, debt recovery and efficient financial management that will ensure uninterrupted services to the people of the Northern Cape.
Northern Cape Premier Campaign
082 383 6914
Shelley De Witt
082 847 10387