Mothutlung: Rapid growth of towns a challenge, says Edna Molewa

2014-01-17 20:20

In the middle of the memorial service for the three people who died this week in protests in Mothutlung, Brits, Minister of Water Affairs Edna Molewa took the time to address the media.

She said today that one of the problems government faced was the effort it took to keep up with growing towns.

“The infrastructure has aged, with some asbestos pipe lines having been around for about 30 to 50 years.

A number of black communities have come into the towns overloading the systems. We have to keep up with the rapid movement and growth,” she said.

Molewa went to great lengths to explain what the department had been doing during the past week to ensure “that people are not left without water to even bath with”.

She said that since Tuesday her department had been working around the clock to supply water in the interim.

“We said that the restoration of water would be complete by Friday (today). After consulting with engineers and technicians, we then started installing the first pipe on Wednesday. As the system begins to work, people must expect the water to have some sort of dust because the pipes have been lying empty. Indeed we have kept to our word,” she said.

But when City Press went into the township this afternoon numerous people were lining up next to military water tankers with metal baths and buckets for water.

Not all areas had water yet.

Molewa assured the people that the municipality’s water problems were a priority and that R300 million had been committed by the department to expand the water treatment plant, which would enable it to have bigger water capacity to cover the entire community.

She added that her department had communicated with the police and investigators to find out what had caused the problems with the pipe lines.

“We will not rest until we know what actually caused this. We want to understand who vandalised the infrastructure and what was the purpose. Through the forensic investigation we hope to be able to identify the suspects. Once we have confirmed we will definitely press charges against those people. This must never ever happen again,” she said.

Earlier, at the memorial service, emotions ran high and a water bottle was thrown at Madibeng mayoral committee member Douglas Maimane.

He was sitting on stage alongside Molewa when the bottle hit him in the face, causing his mouth to bleed. Maimane was helped out of the hall.

Molewa said tolerance and sensitivity was necessary, especially from the side of the government.

“Let’s have tolerance. The road to real economic freedom won’t be easy. That’s why we felt it was necessary to continue the memorial service,” she added.

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