The Witbank branch of the civil rights organisation AfriForum on 7 February 2017 handed over a wish list to Theo van Vuuren, Manager of the Emalahleni Local Municipality.
This follows after the branch identified various community problems and priorities that have not yet been addressed by the Municipality in its Integrated Development Plan (IDP).
Leon Viviers, Secretary of AfriForum’s Witbank branch, says that water supply is one of the biggest problem areas. Detecting and repairing obstructions brought about some improvement, but a large number of asbestos pipes must however still be replaced. Currently Witbank is experiencing a daily water shortage of 16 mega litres, with the worst shortage occurring in the eastern parts of the town. “According to the Municipality the problem will be solved by May. However, should Eskom cut off the electricity according to the planned times, it will considerably halter the maintenance work,” says Viviers.
Other problems that were brought to the attention of the Municipality include city council vehicles, drinking water, water metres, streetlights, the non-payment of accounts and sewage problems. A monthly meeting will also be held in future in order to try and find solutions for existing problems, as well as to identify projects for the local branch.
“Outstanding electricity accounts were also discussed with the Municipality. Despite the generous discount being offered to account holders with outstanding accounts, there seems to be a sluggishness to settle it. AfriForum would like to make a plea to each tax payer to fulfil his/her obligations and thereby prevent Eskom from implementing the electricity interruptions at the proposed peak times,” says Hillel Coetzer, AfriForum’s Regional Coordinator for Mpumalanga West.
“High municipal water accounts is another big problem and the public is requested to discuss exceptionally high water accounts immediately with the city council,” requests Alf Friess, Chairperson of AfriForum’s Witbank branch.