According to the quarterly financial report for the 2020/2021 financial year it is very clear that we have not seen the end of the water crisis in Matjhabeng for a long time.
In December 2020 and January 2021, Sedibeng water ran out of chemicals to clean the water. Pumps were stopped leaving certain areas without water for days. Financial constraints were sighted as the contributing factor and they were unable to afford a new pump and had to refurbish an old pump which took a considerable time to complete.
If one looks at the latest financial report for the 2nd quarter of the 2020/2021 financial year one would understand why Sedibeng is unable to meet their obligations. For December 2020 an amount of R 73 998 08 million was budgeted to be paid to Sedibeng, but only R26 086 957 million was paid. Over the period October 2020 to December 2020 an amount of R129 322 839 was budgeted for but only R67 998 030 was paid over to Sedibeng
The most worrying factor is that Matjhabeng, for December 2020, has been billed in excess of R44 million by Sedibeng, but only R14 million was collected from residents. It is therefore very clear that the Municipality will never be able to pay Sedibeng what is due unless certain stringent measures are put in place. The DA on numerous occasions requested that all areas in Matjhabeng be metered, water infrastructure fixed to prevent water losses and payments to creditors be prioritized, but all to no avail.
The financial report for the 2nd quarter really paints a bleak picture for the residents of Matjhabeng. When the budget for 2020/2021 was brought to Council for approval the DA warned that the budget was not credible as the budget was based on an 80% collection rate. The collection rate for the first six months of the financial year is a mere 50%. It is financially and mathematically impossible for the collection rate to move up to 80% within the next six months which means that the Municipality are already operating at a loss of 30% on their budget with no solution at hand.
Although the water crisis has been resolved for the moment, areas in Welkom and surrounds are still struggling with very low water pressure, burst water pipes, faulty meters and water leaks which are not being fixed despite several requests from Councilors and residents.
The DA therefore has created an e-mail address, firstname.lastname@example.org where residents can send complaints regarding water or any service delivery issue. These complaints will be forwarded to the Municipal Manager for urgent attention. They will also be used to compile a report that will be presented to members of Parliament, Dr. Annelie Lotriet and DA Shadow Minister of Water and Sanitation, Mr. Leon Basson for their further assistance in the matter.