FS farmers assist during Mangaung water crisis

Free State farmers stepped in to provide water relief to scores of desperate residents in the troubled Mangaung Metro Municipality, which include Bloemfontein, amidst the supply crisis.

OFM News reports that this follows after yet another alleged stand-off between the Metro and the ailing Bloem Water board in relation to the non-payment of millions of rands owed to Bloem Water by the Metro. The DA’s ward 18 councillor, David McKay, tells OFM News that three local farmers came on board after failed attempts to have the Metro help with at least Jojo water tankers to residents of Lourierpark in Bloemfontein.

He says as of Monday morning, farmers in the surrounding areas of Ferreira and Bloemdal were able to help with water relief and supplied water to the residents. McKay adds that farmers such as Hannes Meyer helped with the transport, Ricus Kearney supplied the tanks, while Manti Liebenberg helped with supplying and the distribution of water.

OFM News previously reported that the cash-strapped Metro confirmed that the ailing Bloem Water has instilled a 30% water restriction – which has affected water supply in areas such as Pellissier, Botshabelo and Thaba Nchu.

The water restrictions by Bloem Water allegedly follows a communique via a letter sent to the metro by the water board on 23 November, warning the metro that due to non-payment water to some areas will be reduced. A letter addressed to the Municipal Manager, Tankiso Mea, indicated that the management of the water board has on several occasions tried to engage with the Metro’s leadership to no avail.

Another DA councillor, Rossouw Botes, over the weekend alleged that according to financial reports by Mangaung, it received water revenue of over R511 million between August 2019 and October 2020 – while only paying R418 million to Bloem Water. Botes said that during the payment processes the city retained more than R93 million in water revenue and he alleges that it has been stolen from residents who pay their account every month.

Meanwhile, McKay says “I am so thankful for their help and willingness to assist whenever they are called upon. On behalf of the Lourierpark community, I would like to wholeheartedly thank them for their selfless contribution to their fellow residents”.