Sat. Nov 23rd, 2019

Polokwane protests: Water supply restored, five arrested

water shortage tapIt was less about water services and more about service delivery, says the water and sanitation department.

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Water supply to Polokwane and surrounding areas has been restored after protesting community members locked the gates and took the keys at Olifantspoort Pump Station and Water Treatment Plant.

According to reports, residents from Tswaing village stormed into the water scheme last week Thursday and demanded that the facility be closed. They locked the facility and left with the keys.

Motivation behind Polokwane protests

The shutdown came days after Lepelle Northern Water (LNW) announced that there would be five-hour water supply interruptions every day for two to three weeks in areas of supply within Polokwane Municipality for dredging to be done in Ebenezer Dam.

The Department of Water and Sanitation reported that five people, who had locked the gates, have been arrested by Polokwane police.

“The keys have been retrieved and the plant was re-opened to resume water supply to Polokwane and surrounding areas. Meanwhile, operation and maintenance work was halted at Ebenezer Dam to allow for water from Ebenezer to augment the disrupted supply to Polokwane,” the department said in a statement.

The department said it has been established that the protest action was not primarily about water services, but other service delivery issues.

Resolution in place to address water supply demand

Following a meeting with the Executive Mayor of Polokwane, Thembi Simelane-Nkadimeng, a technical team comprising department officials, Lepelle Northern Water and Capricorn District Municipality has been formed to monitor the situation.

Meanwhile, a meeting between the technical team — including Provincial Cooperative Governance, Human Settlement and Traditional Affairs, the mayors of Polokwane, Capricorn and Lepelle-Nkumpi Municipalities — and leaders of the protesting community is scheduled to take place in an attempt to find common ground regarding the resolution of the demands on a school, clinic, roads and water reticulation.

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