Vandalism of water infrastructure sets back service delivery

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

The Department of Water and Sanitation has warned that vandalism of water infrastructure sets government back and deprives communities of essential services.

This follows the vandalism of the Bhofolo Water Pump Station, which supplies water to Bhofolo township and the surrounding areas in Fort Beaufort, Eastern Cape.

The damaged pump station has left residents without water supply.

“These acts of criminality undermine government efforts to keep the service delivery wheel in motion. There is no justification whatsoever for vandalising water infrastructure but [it is] an act of criminality, which undermines government’s effort to supply water to communities in a sustainable manner.

“Vandalism takes government back in its service delivery plans and targets. As soon as water infrastructure is damaged, government has to make necessary and urgent steps to restore water supply that is not budgeted,” Wisane Mavasa, the department's spokesperson, said.

She said the department, working with Amathole District Municipality (ADM), is working around the clock to restore water supply in the affected areas. Water trucks have also been dispatched to ensure continuous water supply to the communities.

“This is an interim measure while efforts to fix the vandalised Bhofolo Pump Station are underway. A service provider has already been appointed by ADM and it is expected that by Wednesday, water will be coming out of the taps,” Mavasa said.

Mavasa said the disruption of water supply has exacerbated the ongoing challenges experienced in the area, including water demand that exceeds supply, as well as the effects of load shedding.

She said ADM, as the Water Services Authority, is currently increasing water storage capacity and water treatment capacity in Fort Beaufort to improve water supply, which is a project funded under the Municipal Infrastructure Grant.

Mavasa further called on community members to be active citizens and guard their own infrastructure within their communities, and report criminal acts to law enforcement agencies because “the infrastructure belongs to them and once vandalised, they will be directly affected". 

“The building of this infrastructure takes years. We therefore appeal to the municipality and residents to safeguard all water infrastructure in your communities and to report these criminal elements to ensure that they provide long term water supply for all,” Mavasa said. –