POLOKWANE – The meeting was interrupted at least four times by protesting residents before Municipal Manager, Dikgape Makobe and other municipal officials and a representative from Lepelle Northern Water Board had to abandon the meeting and exit through a back door.
Residents demanded that they could voice their grievances over the microphone.
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While he still had the time to explain the situation, Makobe admitted that the reason for the current water supply shortage is due to poor infrastructure planning on the municipality’s part. The second reason for the interrupted supply, he said, relates to challenges with the bulk water supply.
Makobe spoke at one of two meetings held in the city that evening, aimed at informing residents of the reasons and plans to alleviate water supply interruptions in the city.
According to Makoba, the demand for water to the city exceeds the supply. He said that the location of the reservoirs in the city was another issue, as higher lying areas are left without water when levels decreased when there was not sufficient supply of water.
Dissatisfied residents continued to disrupt the meeting.
According to Matshidiso Mothapo, Municipal Spokesperson, the meeting was disrupted by “a group of boys who reeked of alcohol and who came with the intention of disrupting the meeting”. He said another meeting would be arranged at a “more conducive venue”.
He described the incident as an unfortunate situation saying those who disrupted the event stood in the way of other residents wanting to hear what was going to be done about the situation.
He also said the mayor, who attended the other meeting, would lead the next scheduled meeting.
He said the group of unruly boys, after the meeting was adjourned, “hijacked a water tanker in Flora Park, forced the driver to dump the water in the street and thus denied the community to receive water”.
Community safety officers and the police managed to retrieve the keys of the truck and it was escorted back to the basis.
There was also no water supply to Flora Park on Thursday evening.
Mothapo said the municipality condemns acts which deny other people of water and appeal to the community to “work with them during this difficult period as solutions are being implemented”.
Some schools in the city were contemplating closing earlier because of the water shortage while others discussed the purchasing of water tanks for emergency supplies.
On Friday, water supply was re-established to most areas.