In a statement, DA leader in the Free State Roy Jankielsohn said replies from the Free State Member of the Executive Council for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta), Thembeni Nxangisa, and premier, Sisi Ntombela, to questions in the Provincial Legislature, confirmed that local municipalities had failed to submit requests for disaster drought relief, with only Mangaung Metro Municipality receiving R233 million.
He said the DA would submit follow-up questions to determine why local municipalities failed and how the money allocated to Mangaung was spent.
“Questions to the premier regarding water scarcity received a vague reply that indicates that the province has no coordinated plan to deal with ongoing water-related problems,” said Jankielsohn.
“The inability of municipalities in the Free State to deliver safe and reliable water supplies are not only drought-related but also due to the lack of planning, poor management and no infrastructure maintenance.”
Instead of acknowledging the problems faced by residents in municipalities, premier Ntombela had opted to pass the buck by stating that the right to sufficient water was “an exclusive national legislative competence” and that the province only assisted with portable water supply systems, said Jankielsohn.
The DA had written to the premier in January requesting that the province be declared a drought disaster area.
“Since then, however, neither local municipalities nor the agricultural sector have received the necessary assistance from the provincial government,” he said.
The Free State premier’s office did not immediately respond to the African News Agency’s request for comment.