By Melinda Hattingh, MPL – DA Constituency Head of Kalahari
Date: 22 November 2017
Type: Press Statement
The DA welcomes the Green Scorpions response to our call for an urgent investigation into the sewerage problem in Kathu, which has now reached crisis point.
The Green Scorpions are expected to present the Gamagara municipality with a notice today, giving them fourteen days to respond to the matter in writing. This comes after the DA wrote to the Northern Cape MEC of Environment and Nature Conservation, MEC Tiny Chotello, and the Green Scorpions on Thursday last week, requesting an intervention into the festering sewerage matter that has become a health and environmental hazard to the residents of Mapoteng (Ward 5) and Kathu (Ward 1).
The situation is the result of a two year lull in the maintenance of the pump systems by the Gamagara Municipality, resulting in chronic overflow of some pump stations, such as station #247. This has in turn culminated in rivers of sewage engulfing properties and disguising driveways, gardens and play areas under a layer of smelly brown sludge.
The DA has on numerous occasions addressed the matter with the previous local Mayor, Dineo Moyo, and Municipal Manager, Clement Itumeleng.
In response, the municipality claimed that back-up pumps were working and that pumps are repaired as and when needed. They also blamed residents for clogging the sewerage system by flushing foreign objects down toilets. This was a blatant lie and a feeble attempt to place the municipality’s failure squarely on the shoulders of local residents.
Just last week, after numerous attempts, DA councillor Henriette Du Plessis, finally managed to secure a meeting with the new mayor, Edwin Hantise. Hantise committed to conduct an oversight visit to the pump stations and the affected areas yesterday. Nothing, however, came of this commitment.
The fact that municipal leadership has consistently failed to react to this issue, is an indication that they still fail to grasp the gravity of the situation and that they simply do not care about the wellbeing of local residents.
The truth of the matter is that not only does the municipality have no funds available for repairs and replacements of the pumps, but the municipality also has absolutely no clue as to how to properly manage the sewerage system. In fact, they haven’t done much upkeep on the sewerage systems in the whole of the Gamagara region for the best part of a decade.
The DA appreciates the efforts by the plumbers and millwrights to address the matter. But without the support of political and municipal leadership, and without the necessary resources, this is and will remain a service delivery failure of a massive scale.
The DA eagerly anticipates the outcome of the Green Scorpions investigation, which we sincerely hope will force the Gamagara municipality to remove the cloak of sewage that has stained the town of Kathu.
The DA has also submitted a motion with notice, calling for the sewage crisis to be addressed and for new equipment to be purchased, to be tabled at a council meeting scheduled for 29 November 2017. No one deserves to wake up and go to sleep in such a polluted environment and Gamagara Municipality must be firmly dealt with for compromising the health and wellbeing of its local citizens.
Melinda Hattingh, MPL
DA Constituency Head of Kalahari
082 494 6648
Shelley De Witt
082 847 1387