BRITS (MADIBENG) WATER.
The reports came in over Radio 702 during Wednesday 29 / 06 / 2016 reporting an all-party meeting at Brits Town Hall to discuss the shortage of water in and around Brits, and the Madibeng Municipality. Note: this is apparently the new name for Brits. Initially puzzled, when I punched Madibeng into Google Earth, it went directly to Brits, without any further mention of Madibeng. The ANC lady mayor was reported as saying “If ANC are voted in (August election) she will promise to rectify the matter. All very vague – I elected to check it out. A job for Jimbo Unpacked.
The quandary was – Exactly where, and what, are the water problems under discussion?? I decided to check out the farm irrigation aspect first. This was easy, and obvious. All the canals in the farming areas around Brits were running to capacity. The sprinklers and Centre Points were all operating at full blast, with excess water running off the fields. I checked out the Crocodile River in two places in the outskirts of Brits, the river had a very healthy flow. The river and the canals were not exactly sparkling – more a dull grey. But I suspect the grey water was acceptable to both the farmers and the crops. So the problem is not here.
I asked a fully kitted up, white Police Officer (parked at a café, just out of town), about the multi-party meeting at the Madibeng town hall yesterday. He said there was certainly more than average people in the vicinity of the Municipal Offices yesterday, but nothing that required riot gear.
Let me look into the Townships surrounding Brits. As I was on the west side of Brits (Near Sonop) when I arrived at this decision, I entered a township in that vicinity. The first thing that attracted my attention was a school party of some description. Little kids with face paint all over, playing very loud games, supervised by a handful of youngish white adults. Everyone having a ball. My attention wandered to three raised drinking taps in another part of the school yard, with a constant stream of children, taking a drink break from their boisterous school party. They were all drinking straight from tap to mouth, and were definitely enjoying it.
This happy scene prompted me to examine other streets in this township. Sure enough, taps were frequent, and being used. The taps not actually in use, showed evidence of constant use (still dripping, and puddles on the ground). OK, nothing untoward here.
Let me visit the Municipal Offices. A newish red brick building, very nice but, the building could not help looking a bit unpolished. “Is this where the Water Meeting was held yesterday”? No, “Over there in the Cinema”. And again “Is this where the Water Meeting was held yesterday”? “Yes”. “And what was the outcome”? “There was no outcome” from a black man in a brown suit, as he turned away.
At the truckers part of the Service Station in town: – I struck it lucky, and asked a credit card machine technician about the water meeting in town yesterday. He called his friend (a petrol attendant). This black man told me he was very involved, and had personally spoken to the lady mayor, and the minister of water affairs via radio 702 yesterday and the day before. Without going into details, he expressed himself as very unhappy with the mayor’s response to his questions. Later, back in Fourways, my friend Henrietta Bocchio, confirmed she had heard this conversation on radio 702. He went on to say his brother, who works at the so called Water Purification Plant, certainly would not drink the water that came out of it. At that moment, the said brother was spotted on the opposite side of the street, and called over.
The water purification plant employee, confirmed that neither he nor his colleagues would drink that water. He described it as, if given to a pre-school child for 5 days, the child would die. Unfortunately, he had to be somewhere, and left.
One of the now gathered group told me of an incident a few days ago where due to a burst pipe at a township on the south west side of town, flooding prevented people leaving the township for at least a day, While at the same time townships to the north east of town had no water at all.
The general consensus of the group, who mostly came from the north east townships of Lethlabile, Maboloka and Kgabalatsane, told of an erratic water supply – more off, than on – and when on, was undrinkable. Even when boiled. The petrol attendant and his family considered themselves lucky, to have a close neighbour with a borehole, which produces good water. Although they still have to pay the neighbour for it. It is these North Eastern townships where most of the complaints emanate. I have noticed on Google Earth, several reservoirs scattered around these townships. These are comparatively very densely populated areas.
So where does the problem lie. One of the now gathered group said it was corruption in the municipality, and cited council employees who own water trucks, and are paid by the council to transport water the these townships. I am not sure exactly how this is done. Another said he blames President Zuma personally for being the leader of a criminal gang – namely the ANC party. The whole gathered group enthusiastically agreed when the Credit Card Machine technician said he has a serious problem when the Present says the ANC party comes first. How can this be ?
Does the gathered group have a solution to this water problem in and around Brits? At their level – no they do not. What about Johannesburg then ? According to the group, Johannesburg is OK for a good while yet, as its Municipality is a lot more educated. Hmm, interesting. The Madibeng municipality must be really dumb. My own deduction – “No amount of protest or demonstration, peaceful or otherwise will implant competent Civil Engineers into the Madibeng Municipality. Thinking further about the non-functioning water purification plant. This can only be so due to ignorance in relation to the operation and maintenance of the plant. So it boils down to Education again.
It seems to me that although the water infrastructure is there, the maintenance is not, for various municipal, inter-departmental reasons.
As an aside: – Brits now has about 9 main business streets, and is bustling in most respects. It is surrounded by high output irrigation farms, producing fruit and vegetables, these goodies are available at the many farm stalls on the main roads on the outskirts of town. The first of these farm stalls appears on the R511 approximately 50 km from Fourways. I would suggest housewives with friends and families might find it enjoyable, profitable and healthy to take a jaunt to Brits, rather on a weekday morning, after peak hours of course, and load up. Fruit & Veggie hunters may need to do a few more kilometres to visit more than one farm stall, to collect the whole crop. Give it a shot!!
—– RIDE HARD, SHOOT STRAIGHT, AND SPEAK THE TRUTH.——-