Following the ongoing water problems in Brits, deputy Minister of Water and Sanitation in North West visited the Brits water treatment works for the second time in a month on Friday, 24 April, to assess the progress made at the plant since his last visit.
Minister David Mahlobo made an unannounced visit to Brits in March following reports of poor water quality in the area. During this visit he expressed his dismay at the condition of the treatment plant and said the water “will kill people, especially children.”.
He said the people responsible at Madibeng should be arrested. “We know you are broke and I will report to the minister and director general to see where money can be raised. However, we want to see where the government’s infrastructure grant to Madibeng goes.”
During the follow-up visit on Friday, Mahlobo met with Madibeng mayor, Jostine Mothibe who indicated that there has been an improvement at the Brits water treatment works. “We cannot allow a situation where community members are supplied with substandard water due to our inability to work together when we experience challenges. This needs to be treated with a sense of urgency,” he said.
Mothibe said the Madibeng community is not happy with the intermittent water cuts as a result of the construction phases at the plant. Hartbeespoort Dam is mostly blamed for the water quality at the abstraction point. “The water is rich in nutrients and part of the upgrade work at the plant is the introduction of pre-treatment using an Ozone system to oxidise the algae which will ease the pressure on the filters,” departmental spokesperson, Luvo Dumse said.
During his previous visit to the water treatment and waste water plants, some serious issues discovered were:
Untreated sewage is being released into the Crocodile River
The sewage purification plant is barely functioning
The municipality has a 53% water loss
Serious system failures at both plants
Water tests are seemingly not conducted according to national standards
Mahlobo undertook on Friday to increase the department’s support to the municipality to fast-track the refurbishment of the water treatment plant.