Tatane Project: Dipaleseng tackles its five biggest problems

2013-06-09 14:00

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» Water:

Dirty water remains Dipaleseng’s biggest problem, and the municipality has been buying water treatment chemicals from a Free State company.

“Last week, we had no water for two days because the company that supplies us with chemicals claims it gets orders late and its payments never get processed on time. I’ve asked them to send their invoices to me so that I can fast-track payment, but they have not done so,” said Ngcobo.

Dipaleseng’s water quality, he said, came in at 10th place in the province, according to the department of water affairs’ Blue Drop Report, and he was “afraid people will get waterborne diseases”.

So he has approached the Dr JS Moroka municipality in Siyabuswa for help as, according to him, they had similar problems but they hired a service provider to transfer water-management skills to their staff.

“Their water quality is now ranked number two in the province,” he said, adding that they would hire a service provider this month.

» Sanitation:

Dipaleseng’s sewerage plants were designed for a small community in Balfour town in the 1960s and were never upgraded as the population increased over the years.

A study has now shown that they need R84 million to build a new sewage treatment plant.

Ngcobo has applied for a R42 million loan from the Development Bank of Southern Africa, while the Gert Sibande district municipality would pay the other half.

» Electricity:

Aging infrastructure and lack of skilled staff in the electricity department are behind the power outages.

The municipality’s billing system is faulty and, impoverished as most residents are, no one is registered as indigent in order to receive free power.

“We’re relying on one electrical engineer, who is due for retirement. While he’s still with us we need to recruit young guys to learn from him,” said Ngcobo.

He is also looking at installing a new meter system that cannot be tampered with.

» Roads:

Although progress has been made, the municipality was getting a raw deal from contractors, and retention funds paid by contractors were not enough to fix their shoddy work.

“There’s a street that was finished in November, but now it has potholes all over. We’ve gone a distance here, but there’s too much shoddy work.”

» Skills Development:

The department of higher education and training will build one of the 12 model further education and training (FET) colleges in Balfour, at a cost of R374 million.

“Our FET college will focus on the skills that are needed here, like water, electrical engineering and finance. We do advertise jobs, but the local youth don’t have the skills.”

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