The spat between the Kgetlengrivier Local Municipality and the local citizens’ group rages on.
The residents’ group took over the water and sewage provision from the municipality on Thursday.
This was in line with a December 18 court order, which had given the municipality 10 days to supply water to Koster and Swartruggens residents or lose control of the resource management to the residents’ association.
However, the municipality says the citizens group, led by Karen van Heerden has in fact violated the court order.
“The so-called experts brought by the applicants were not presented formally to the municipality, any government institution or the court nor their qualifications presented to any of the afore mentioned institutions to verify if indeed they are qualified to operate the plants. This essentially means the applicants have taken over the plants without demonstrating to the respondent that they have sought the necessary experts to operate the plant, a function constitutionally bestowed to the respondent.”
Municipal manager, Joseph Mogale, says the move was also unnecessary as the municipality did comply with the December court order.
“The respondents have been supplying portable and purified water to the communities of Kgetlengrivier Local Municipality. Efforts have been made to stop the spillage into the Koster and Elands rivers and the respondents have succeeded in this regard.”
A court process was also underway when the residents took over. Mogale says they had filed an urgent court application, challenging the ruling.
“To the municipality’s dismay an interim order was executed illegally so by the respondents in the most hostile and inconsiderate manner. The applicants took control of the water treatment plant and waste treatment plant without any courtesy nor due observation of hand over processes despite being informed that the consideration application is set down to be heard on the 8th of January 2020. The applicants came with scores of security personnel including K9 dogs and took over the plants which meant that the provision of water was immediately interrupted due to hostile take-over of the waste and water treatment plants which ceased to operate due to forced shut down by the applicants.”
Van Heerden insists they have done nothing wrong and merely implemented a court order.
The community leader says the community has had enough of water shortages in Koster.
He says it is a risk they can’t afford in the face of COVID-19 that’s wreaking havoc across the world.