AfriForum’s Parys branch met on 16 August 2018 with Bruce Kannemeyer, the municipal manager of the Ngwathe Local Municipality, regarding the ongoing water crisis in Parys.
The meeting was requested by AfriForum’s Parys branch so that complaints from the community about the poor drinking water quality and the poor condition of the Vaal River could be submitted directly to the municipal administration. These complaints include the fact that drinking water is not on blue drop standard as well as the fact that high levels of E. coli are found in the Vaal River. The municipality was also reprimanded about the state of both the Parys and Heilbron refuse sites during this meeting.
The municipality was requested to improve its communication channel with the community so that residents could be informed when drinking water displayed an unusual colour and so that there could be communication with the community on when and why there is at times no water at all.
In response to the complaints, Kannemeyer acknowledged that there are water supply problems in Parys and that drinking water does not comply with blue drop standards, but claimed that the situation has improved over the past six months. The municipality expressed the hope that an 18-month agreement with Rand Water would result in improved functioning of the town’s sewage works. Regarding the refuse sites, Kannemeyer admitted that it is almost impossible for the municipality to comply with legal requirements, due to a limited budget.
The AfriForum branch management as well as municipal officials made proposals on how these issues can be addressed better in the future, and the branch has undertaken to report directly to the responsible officials about sewage and water complaints. AfriForum’s Parys branch has agreed to register as an interest group in order to gain better insight into the municipality’s budget and Integrated Development Team Processes in the future.
AfriForum is in the meantime very concerned about the results of laboratory tests on samples taken at the outflow of Parys’ waterworks. The results were received on 17 August and show an E. coli score of >8 000, which is well above the allowed limit of 1 000.