18 August 2018


Government to improve communication on water challenges

by: Kagiso Metswamere and Nthusang Lefafa    date: 03 August 2018

There is a need to urgently increase communication between the three spheres of government, water boards and communities in order to better address water challenges in Bokone Bophirima province. So says Premier, Job Mokgoro, who recently met Minister of Water and Sanitation, Gugile Nkwinti, to discuss the province’s water woes.

Addressing a media briefing after his meeting, the Premier said community members could even help come up with solutions. 

“There is a lot of value that they can bring in the implementation process. Besides the fact that they are the beneficiaries of this process, there are many things our communities know which we do not know and they also need feedback from us on the progress that we are making and our failures coupled with reasons for not making progress in that regard,” he said. 
The meeting at Mahikeng Hotel School was also attended by MEC for Local Government and Human Settlements, Galaletsang Gaolaolwe, Board Chairpersons of the three Water Boards in the province: Sedibeng Water, Magalies Water and Midvaal Water and their Chief Executive Officers.

The Premier acknowledged a pleasing fact that government had started some major water projects to address water challenges, but said there were a number of key institutional related challenges that needed to be attended to immediately. 

“We need to ensure that projects on the table move forward with greater speed because government must not be perceived as doing nothing. The billions of money government has committed to the water sector is very encouraging, so let us roll up our sleeves and focus on those institutional issues in our water boards and municipalities, working with national government,” he said.

Water and Sanitation Minister, Nkwinti said his department had decided to establish provincial joint tactical centres and district operational centres so that there were “proper working together” in addressing water challenges in the country.

“We have established the centres so that there must be combined planning, prioritizing and pulling together of our resources across all three spheres of government.

“We tasked the centres in the province to come up with recent water challenges and locate them within municipalities; and come up with proposed action plans, the costs and timeframes to deal with those challenges in the province,” he said.

In the same meeting a concern was raised about acts of vandalism of water infrastructure that have become a common occurrence in Ngaka Modiri Molema District Municipality.
Board Chairperson of Sedibeng Water, Matshidiso Dikoko, urged communities within the jurisdiction of the Ngaka Modiri Molema District Municipality to take care of their water infrastructure, as there are those who are involved in destroying boreholes and machinery in order to create business for water tankering services.
“We urge communities to take care of their infrastructure because there are crooked businessmen who are using some members of the community to destroy water infrastructure so that they can get business to provide water tankering services. It is your personal responsibility to look out for such people who are living amongst us because tomorrow you are the ones who will be suffering,” Dikoko said. 
He said there is evidence of security officials who are guarding water infrastructure being intimidated and beaten by those who vandalise the infrastructure.
“In areas such as Itsoseng near Lichtenburg, security officials have been complaining that they are being beaten up by thugs who come at night to destroy water infrastructure. These kind of people are deterring progress which is supposed to be made because as Sedibeng Water we are also responsible for maintenance and upgrades,” said Dikoko. 
One of the key outcomes of the meeting is that operational centres that are comprised of officials from the provincial government, municipalities and water boards will be tasked with assessing the needs of each district in the province. The team will then be responsible for reporting to the Department of Water and Sanitation, which will then map a way forward