The Masilonyana Local Municipality has raised concerns with the opposition for rushing to report it to watchdog, the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) while they were still working to address issues that have been raised in the past.
In a statement, mayor Councillor Stephen Koalane acknowledged that the Democratic Alliance (DA) had taken the municipality to the SAHRC over the water supply challenges in the area, but was quick to say the move by the DA was just an an act of political grandstanding.
“The DA’s posture is a ploy aimed at boosting its struggling election campaign,” said Koalane in the statement.
“Last year on November 30, the municipality appeared before the Human Rights Commission. At issue was the complaint relating to water supply in Brandfort, where community members were aggrieved by amongst others, lack of consistent water supply and communication.
“The Municipality was represented by myself, Councillor Koos Pienaar from the Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus) and the Director of Corporate Services, Vusi Rajuili. The meeting proposed remedial actions such as water distribution plan and improved communication. We are currently working on these remedial actions and will be reporting progress to the SAHRC. Hence we strongly believe that the DA’s behaviour is retrogressive and nefarious,” said the mayor.
He noted there have been a number of incidents and acts of sabotage against the municipality and municipal infrastructure in the past which the DA never condemned or commented on.
“In 2014, our water maintenance team discovered bullet cartridges or casings whilst attending to what was supposedly a broken raw water pipeline, supplying raw water to the Brandfort Water Treatment Plant. It turned out that the pipe was not broken, but was shot at by a white farmer whom our pipeline is running through his farm.
“The matter was reported to the police and a case was opened. Despite cartridges being found and linking the gun owner to the crime scene, the local prosecutor declined to prosecute citing insufficient evidence,” added the statement.
Koalane also said in 2015, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) members allegedly tempered with the municipal sewer infrastructure.
He said the DA never condemned both incidents as well as another one that occurred on February 20, where a main line supplying clean water from the Treatment Plant to the Brandfort Reservoirs was tempered with, even though they were knowledgeable about the incidents.
The February was allegedly as a result of an illegal industrial action led by Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (IMATU) which is in alliance with the DA.