Municipality to embark on R37 million upgrade
By Freestate On 11 Jul, 2013 At 12:57 PM | Categorized As News, Provincial | With 0 Comments

Martin Makoni
Brandfort

MASILONYANA Local Municipality will soon embark on a R37 million project to upgrade the water supply system in Brandfort and end severe water shortages that have dogged the small farming town located 60km north of Bloemfontein for three years now.
The water project that will be implemented during the current financial year is the first phase of a much bigger and longer term water infrastructure building and development programme that will cost a total of R87 million and will be implemented over several years.

The project that municipal spokesperson Zongezile Ntjwabule said was meant to deliver permanent water solutions to Brandfort will be funded entirely through municipal infrastructure grants provided by central government thorough the department of water affairs.
“We have received the first tranche of money to get the project underway,” Ntjwabule said.

“We would like to conclude the project within the shortest possible time so that the water situation improves permanently but all that will be determined by when we get the next allocation of funds,” he added.
Ntjwabule said as part of the project the ageing pump stations would be refurbished or replaced while a 40km pipeline drawing water Sandvert Dam to Brandfort would be upgraded.
“The replacement of the asbestos water pipe from the dam as well as the upgrading of the pump stations is a long term project which should start as soon as the tender process is completed.”
Over and above the planned project to overhaul the water supply system in Brandfort, the municipality has also spent a total of R20 million boosting provision of water to residents in the short term, according to Ntjwabule.
He said: “A project worth about R13 million to upgrade the Brandfort water treatment plant was completed last year.

“In May this year we completed another project valued at R6 million where we were replacing air valves on the main pipeline and last month we replaced water filters to the tune of R1 million.”
News of the municipality’s work to fix Brandfort’s water problems comes after the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) said in a report made available to the media this week that the local authority had violated the rights of the residents by failing to provide them with clean water.
The report said: “The respondent (Masilonyana municipality) has violated the rights of the residents in that it has failed and or neglected to take reasonable steps to provide the residents with an adequate supply of clean water.”
The SAHRC investigated the water situation in Brandfort after receiving a complaint from opposition DA party parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko last year.

Mazibuko alleged that the municipality had refused and or neglected to provide residents especially those from the Joe Slovo informal settlement near Brandfort with adequate, clean and safe water.
The SAHRC refused to discuss the report dated June 10, 2013 and signed by deputy chairperson Pregs Govender, saying it could not speak on the document because it was yet to officially release it.
The commission apparently handed the report to the municipality and to the DA which made it public.

Among other suggestions and recommendations contained in the report, the commission has asked the municipality to furnish it — within a period of three months — with an operations and maintenance plan to run water supplies in an efficient, effective and sustainable manner.

The municipality was also tasked to improve community participation in governance and to regularly meet with residents to give them feedback on the water situation.
The SAHRC has asked the department of water affairs to submit a report to it within six months detailing the support it gave the municipality to help boost water supply capacity.

The department is also required to continue monitoring the water supply and infrastructural improvement programmes of the municipality as well as take regular water samples for testing to ensure the supply of safe and clean water.
Ntjwabule would not take questions on the SAHRC report saying the municipality was still studying the document.

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