Water wasted. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)
Thohoyandou - Newly appointed Vhembe Mayor Florence Radzilani has pledged to tackle the ongoing water challenges in the troubled municipality.
She was speaking during the inauguration of the new council in the Vhembe municipality chambers in Thohoyandou on Friday, August 26.
"The main delivery challenge we are facing is water. This is an undeniable reality facing each one of us whether you are in the political management team, an executive committee member, or in opposition benches.
"The problem is even worse now as we are facing drought which has left our dam levels low. We must begin to come up with workable solutions in the medium long-term. Part of this is the maintenance of the existing infrastructure and upgrading," she said.
"I acknowledge that there are challenges of dilapidated infrastructure and population growth which led to water scarcity," said Radzilani.
Earlier this month the Lepelle Northern Water board announced plans to inject R10bn in infrastructure upgrades in Limpopo in an attempt to alleviate acute water shortages since 2000. Both the Levubu and the Tshwinga dams are running at below average capacity for this time of year because of the drought.
"I also want immediately to refurbish and repair our damaged boreholes," Radzilani continued.
"We will also take time to come up with campaigns to curtail continuing theft and vandalism of water generators including borehole equipment, especially in deep rural areas."
‘Watchdog of corruption’
The mayor also promised to spend more time on project visits to affected communities to ensure that people get clean drinking water.
Radzilani, who is serving as executive mayor for a second term, thanked the 220 000 people in the district who voted for the African National Congress and the ANC for appointing her to lead 1.3 million people in the district.
She also spoke about the urgency of filling senior management posts. The municipality has been without a permanent financial officer, municipal manager and a public accounts manager for the past two years. She acknowledged this had led to dysfunction and underperformance in the municipality.
In response, provincial Democratic Alliance leader Joseph Mariba warned: "The DA is here to be a watchdog of corruption and make sure that people get service delivery.”
Vhembe traditional council chairperson Hosi Busa Nxumalo said: "As traditional leaders, we are behind the new council and we will make sure that we take service delivery to our people.”
Vhembe District has a total of 59 councillors, 24 directly elected and 35 appointed from other municipalities.
Ratshivhanda Ndou, former MEC of safety and security in Limpopo, was appointed chief whip and Fredah Nkondo speaker.