Modise talks water but silent on municipal corruption

2013-02-22 20:36

North West Premier Thandi Modise has promised to ensure that all the province’s households have access to running water by the end of the next financial year.

Currently 920 000 households have access to running water, which means there’s still a backlog of about 140 000 households.

Delivering her state of the province address in Mmabatho, Modise also promised to sort out the problem of the ageing municipal water infrastructure that led to the shortage of water at the beginning of the year.

“We have liaised with Botshelo and Magalies Water (boards) and all the municipalities involved so that the problem can be resolved. The upgrading of water treatment works is also under discussion,” she said.

The mostly rural province also confronts sanitation backlogs. Modise said pre-1994 bucket toilets would be eradicated by the end of her term of office next year, but warned that it would be difficult to get rid of the post-1994 backlog because of the informal settlements that are springing up in parts of her province.

Most of the shanty towns have cropped up around mining towns.

What Modise didn’t say

1. Modise avoided talking about the findings of the Special Investigating Unit investigations into corruption and maladministration in the various municipalities across the province. Given the political tensions that exist in municipalities such as Tlokwe, broaching such a touchy subject might open her up to political attacks at a time when her own position is insecure.

2. While she did mention last’s year’s Marikana crisis in passing, her speech was silent on what her government will do to address the ongoing social crisis surrounding mining in the province. “We are engaging with the mining houses to ensure (this) does not repeat itself,” she said. And that was as concrete as her speech got.

3. She did not provide a progress report on the ten key roads President Jacob Zuma said would be revamped. She fleetingly mentioned that work had started.

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