By LOYISO DYONGMAN
The Makana Citizens Front’s (MCF) Ward 4 candidate Philip Machanick said he was stunned to hear that completion of Phase 2 of the long-stalled James Kleynhas Water Treatment Works upgrade had been delayed again to June 2022.
“We were promised in January 2019 that this project would be fast-tracked, after the previous attempt, starting in 2016, failed. But the end of 2019, only one of four phases had completed. Since then, we have been promised that the entire project would complete by October this year, then March 2022. Now this,” said Machanick.
He said Phase 2 would double the plant’s capacity but does not double the pump capacity. Only when Phase 3 completes will we see any difference in the water supply to the city.
Machanick went on to say that the Makana Municipality has no date for seeing reliable, safe delivery of water to taps. He said this is “just another broken promise”.
“What really worries me is that repeated delays of a project raise a big red flag. This is exactly what happened with the 2016 project. The most likely outcome now is that this project will fail completely,” said Machanick.
In February this year, a case was opened at the Joza Police Station after vandals destroyed a R250 000 telemetry system at Makhanda’s main supply reservoir. The discovery was made when water technicians reopened the supply to residents after a six-day water outage.
A blown gasket caused the water outage on a pump at the James Kleynhans Water Treatment Works. The leaking pump flooded the pump station, leaving the town’s residents without water for six days. At that time, the municipality confirmed that the telemetry system was worth around R250 000.
This week, the MCF interim management committee chair, Lungile Mxube, said long-suffering citizens of Makhanda have repeatedly been promised an end to their water and sewage disaster and have continually been disappointed.
“We cannot wait to take over council to put competent and non-corrupt management in place. Our candidates have the knowledge and experience to undo the damage of years of corruption and mismanagement. Water is one of the most fundamental rights, second only to air.
“Corruption of a project like this is inexcusable. It is unbelievable that the mayor on Sunday 10 October on SABC TV scored himself eight out of ten. We call on the people of Makana to score him zero out of ten on election day,” Mxube said.
He said his party had done everything that it could to change government for the better, like petitions, letters, court actions, protests, and pleading for change every way it could.