Tunatazama - Community Monitors

Water crisis

Makhotla Sefuli
22nd October 2021
Matjhabeng local municipality


Matjhabeng local municipality is facing a very serious crisis of water cuts in this time of electoral mandate renewal, the whole municipality comprising of six towns has entered the fourth day without water and the community is bearing the brunt of the shenanigans created by the maladministration and incompetence.

The municipality is supplied by Sedibeng water from its plant in Bothaville and another one in Virginia, both plants have now turned dry for almost a week now and every street corner you see scores of people queuing for water from good Samaritans who took pity on our predicament and took it upon themselves to make sure that the community has access to the most precious commodity that brings life to every individual.

The report that came from Sedibeng Water is that the municipality owes them 4.4 billion and that dept spans for fifteen years because they stopped paying regularly in 2009. Letters of demand have been written by Sedibeng but the municipality has never responded to any of those correspondences.
The municipal account with Sedibeng Water is 5 million per month and they are saying that the municipality should at least pay 55 million for them to restore the water supply to the residents of Matjhabeng. On the 20th October an urgent council sitting approved a payment of 17 million to Sedibeng Water but Sedibeng is not burging.

Sedibeng Water on the other hand is owing Eskom millions of Rands and so Eskom had to cut off the electric supply to Sedibeng for non payment. Their employees have embarked on a strike because they did not get their salaries and the company can’t afford to buy necessary chemicals to purify water and supply communities. The hydrants and water pumps have stopped running and the community has to seek other alternatives to get clean water. The firms in the industrial area have been supplying water to the communities but we don’t know how long the arrangement will last.

This problem is not going to be resolved any time soon because what they are not telling communities is that in some instances the municipality was bankrupt that they had to borrow money from Sedibeng in order to pay the monthly salary bill of their bloated staff and administration and even funding election campaigns of the ruling party. This was after the ABSA Bank refused to give the municipality an overdraft to pay employees salaries.

The new administration will take office in less than two weeks from now and the first thing they should do is to get into an agreement with Sedibeng Water on how to settle the 4.4 billion debt.
Matjhabeng local municipality on the other hand must cut their bloated staff and administration because they are not complying the Municipal Finance Management Act the MFMA states categorically that only 33% of your budget should go to salaries but Matjhabeng was standing at 39% continuing.