Brits and surrounding areas have been without water since Thursday after the water treatment plant ran out of chemicals, and no one at the Madibeng municipality is currently authorised to sign off on purchases.
According to a notice by the municipality, it is experiencing a shortage of chlorine gas and as a result, the potable water cannot be distributed without appropriate disinfection. The supplier was reportedly also not willing to supply chemicals upfront because of alleged non-payment of accounts.
The administrative team’s contracts expired at the end of October and following the municipal elections, a new council has not been sworn in, leaving the municipality currently rudderless. The municipality has no chief financial officer and no one else is authorised to sign off on purchases.
The Brits water treatment plant supplies water to Brits town, Oukasie, Elandsrand, Dmonsville, Mothotlung, Sonop, Mmakau, Lelthabile, Rabokala and Madidi.
Following an enquiry to the municipality, spokesperson Tumelo Tshabalala said “the executive mayor, Joseph Ratloi has appointed the acting municipal manager and acting chief financial officer.”
Elsa Lourens, former and newly elected councillor of the Freedom Front Plus, said this was unlawful and fraudulent. “Madibeng currently does not have a mayor in office to make any appointments. He ceased being mayor on 30 October 2021. Even if he was still the mayor, the appointment of a municipal manager and chief financial officer, acting or permanent is delegated to the council. And Madibeng does not have a council until members have been sworn in.”
Lourens told Kormorant that the crisis has been escalated to the North West Premier and MEC of the North West Department of Cooperative Government for urgent intervention.
“The province is in the process of making an appointment and the sensible thing to do would probably be the re-appointment of previous administrator.”