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Madibeng opposition parties taking advantage of water crisis

From corruption allegations, dirty undrinkable water, raw sewage flowing in some areas to unending protests over service delivery this defines the North-West based Madibeng Municipality, west of Pretoria.

The municipality made headlines during violent protests in what was termed the ‘Battle for Water” two years ago which left three people dead and a police officer sentenced to life in prison.

The opposition in the municipality accuses the African Nation Congress (ANC) administration of letting corruption continue without any punishment.

Now, big and small political parties, are taking advantage of the situation to canvass for votes.

Walking down the streets of Letlhabile, Mothotlung and Majakaneng, in Brits, poverty is written on the faces of the majority of residents.

Unemployed youth stand on some streets of the townships, with some running small or informal businesses, such as car wash centres or buy and braai, an informal fast food outlet.

Recent Stats-SA information indicates that Madibeng is now home to 537 500 people.

The Wazimap information web for local government shows that only 45,3 percent of the population here is employed.

The administrative seat of Madibeng, Brits, has mining operations and some tourist attractions on the outskirts of the town.

Small political parties in Madibeng accuse the ANC of failing to provide residents with adequate services.

The Independent Party’s Ronald Moloto and Lucky Lebeloane of the Active Movement of Change say, “The problem in this municipality is that the ruling party, which is the ANC, instead of focusing on service delivery, they are focusing on their cabals.”

They says people who are in positions, are only here for their own interests.

“They are not here for the interest of the people. So, even when there are projects that are running in our communities, only people who have membership cards for ANC can access employment in those projects and access those contracts,” says Moloto and Lebeloane.

Bosa Ledwaba of the Forum for Service Delivery, says a coalition is needed to remove the ANC administration in this municipality.

“We are contesting 13 wards in Madibeng. We have other independent candidates, seven of them will be working with us. We are quite sure that we will take that municipality. Again, in that municipality, because we didn’t register all the wards, we will come with coalition with other parties, to oust the ANC. The main challenge in Madibeng is water, and maladministration of the municipality and corruption in the municipality,” says Ledwaba.

During the 2014 national elections, the ANC won this municipality with 66 percent, followed by the DA with 15 percent and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) with 13 percent.

But, during the 2011 municipal elections, the ANC had a majority of 75%, followed by the DA with 20%, and COPE with two percent.

Madibeng Mayor Jostina Mothibe says they will still be running this municipality after the August 3 Local Government Elections, despite the tight competition from the opposition and small parties.

“We are still going to win all the wards that are ANC wards. And we still want to add with one ward that we have identified, ward 29. We are going to take that ward. It’s a DA ward now, but the way we are on the ground as the ANC and the services that we are giving to those communities, we are the party that cares about our people. We are always with our communities,” says Mothibe.

Yet, the DA doesn’t buy this, its leader in Madibeng, Leon Basson, says the ANC administration has failed to provide services, and funds meant for the public are used for corruption.

“This municipality, service delivery is one of the worst in the country. That’s why its water and sanitation has been placed under administration on the 8th of April last year. Magalies Water has been brought into Madibeng to assist. We’ve got an administrator that’s been appointed by the province, to assist in water and sanitation in Madibeng. We’ve got a R705 Million upgrade project in Madibeng, of which only 160 million has already been allocated by the department,” says Basson.

Mothibe says they are awaiting the report from the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, the Hawks, following a raid that took place at the council offices this year.

Mothibe says there’s nothing sinister in the running of the municipality.

She says her municipality is working closely with the national Water and Sanitation Department.

This is after the department put the municipality’s water and sanitation functions under administration.

Mothibe says the Brits purification plant is currently giving water to 80% of the community.

However, she acknowledges that there are water challenges in some sections.

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