Tokologo unforthcoming about growing service delivery discontent

───   OLEBOGENG MOTSE 15:46 Fri, 17 Sep 2021

Tokologo unforthcoming about growing service delivery discontent | News Article
Sewage flowing outside Faber Toller’s business in Hertzogville. PHOTO: Kekeletso Mosebetsi

The Tokologo Local Municipality is unforthcoming about the growing unhappiness in the towns of Dealesville, Hertzogville, and Boshof over service delivery challenges.

Meanwhile, tensions are bubbling over due to a plethora of concerns, including inconsistent water supply blamed on a lack of maintenance at water treatment plants by the municipality, overflowing sewage in the towns’ streets, and the installation of prepaid electrical metres in some of the towns, allegedly without the consultation of the community or the consent of the home owners. Media enquiries sent to the municipality on these issues and the rationale behind the construction of a R 2,1 million multipurpose court in Hertzogville’s Malebogo township, as opposed to resolving said issues, remain unanswered. In August 2021, OFM News spoke to one of the disgruntled community members from Dealesville, butchery and guesthouse owner, Christa Hattingh.

Hattingh told OFM News that it’s as if “there is no municipality”, because they do not get answers when probing the aforementioned service delivery issues. She says that they as citizens are doing their best to remedy the situation by going to the municipality but it doesn’t appear to be yielding any positive results.

Previously, Hertzogville businessman and contractor, Toller Faber, who at the time of the interview was attempting to temporarily fix the town’s main road at his own cost, alleged that for most of August, the town didn’t really have consistent water supply - equating it to no water at all. When the municipality was probed on the issue, residents were informed the problem lay with a broken pump at the water treatment plant. 

Faber, who formed part of the construction of the water treatment plant in question that was unveiled in a glitzy ceremony in 2014, says there are reserve pumps at the plant. The problem is that the pumps are not adequately serviced and when one is broken, the municipality relies on reserve pumps. 

OFM News also paid a visit to the water treatment plant, to ascertain where the issues lie and an employee anonymously revealed that most of the water compressors at the fancy treatment plan are not working and haven’t been serviced in months. The employee says he has reported the matter to his superiors, but to date many of these technical issues go unresolved.  

In 2014, the then Deputy  Minister  for  Water  and  Environmental  Affairs, Rejoice  Mabudafhasi,  together  with  the former Free State  Premier,  Ace Magashule, launched the bulk  water  scheme  from  Christiana  to Hertzogville, which  according to a statement released at the time, comprised of the aforementioned water treatment plant  “abstraction  work  near Christiana, along  the  Vaal  River;  pump  station  and  raw  water  storage  dam  near Christiana,  along  Vaal River;  raw  water  pipeline,  300  mm  diameter,  about 42  km  long,  parallel  to  R708  Road;  clear  water  storage  reservoir  at  the WTP;  raw  water  pump  stations  at  Christiana”, etc. Prior to this development in 2014, the people of Hertzogville were reliant on water from boreholes in the area.  

In October 2020, 100 000 hectares of land near Hertzogville were burned during devastating veld fires believed to have broken out during protest action by residents on the R708 over water issues. OFM News is informed that at that stage, residents were grossly unhappy with the municipality over the lack of water. It was reported that one farmer in Hertzogville lost approximately R900 000 in livestock and incurred R3 million in damage to property on his farm.

 Tensions appear to be brewing again in this Free State municipality.

OFM News/Kekeletso Mosebetsi and Olebogeng Motse

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