Question NW19 to the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs

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14 March 2017 - NW19

Profile picture: Bagraim, Mr M

Bagraim, Mr M to ask the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs

Whether the Human Rights Commission found the Emalahleni Local Municipality in Mpumalanga guilty of violating the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, (a) how many times was the specified municipality found guilty of violating the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, and (b) how did the specified municipality violate the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, in each case; 2) whether (a) the municipality rectified all violations of the Constitution of the Republic, 1996, and (b) he has put any measures in place to ensure that the specified municipality complies with section 2 of the Constitution of the Republic, 1996 in the future; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details?


1. Yes.

(a) The South African Human Rights found in the matter between the Democratic Alliance on behalf of the Residents of Witbank (eMalahleni) under file reference number MP/2011/0134 that the Municipality violated the rights of the residents to have access to sufficient water, largely as a result of lack of maintenance plan for its infrastructure, and consequently their rights to dignity. The Municipality appealed the Commission`s findings and the appeal was dismissed in September 2015.

(b) The findings of the Commission were that the Municipality had failed to provide the residents with access to sufficient water in violation of the provisions of section 27 of the Constitution. The Commission continues to receive complaints of violation of the rights of communities to have access to sufficient water against the Municipality.

2. (a) Following the impression by the Commission on the essence of “Meaningful Engagement” between the Municipality and the communities, the Municiplaity held a mass meeting with the community in eMalahleni on 29 July 2015.

(b) On 09 November 2015, the Municipality sent its Comprehensive Maintenance Plan to the Commission.

(c) The Commission also engaged the Municipality through, inter alia, a meeting between its Former Chairperson: Advocate Luarence Mushwana, Provincial Manager: Eric Mokonyama and the Municipal Manager: Mr Theo van Vuuren on 20 June 2016, with a view to obtain the Municipality`s implementation plan aimed at resolving water supply challenges faced by communities in eMalahleni (e.g. Masakhane, Sizanane, Phola villages)

(d) Following further engagement, 7 February 2017 and 15 February 2017 the Municipality advised the Commission in writing about steps it is taking address the challenges, namely that:

  1. Through its Integrated Development Plan coupled with ongoing discussions with Glencore Mine on water augmentation, it is engaging all affected communities with a view to address within available resources its water supply capacity challenges by end of June 2017.
  2. Related sanitations challenged are currently addressed through a pit- latrine (long-drops) and VIP system which the Municipality is implementing; and
  3. It may, in the long-term have to relocate the Masakhane settlement to Dhuva and Siyanqoba locations so as to create space for development.

The Commission also raised challenges presented by the overflow of sewer at Louise Street in Del Judor Extension 4 due to the blockage of the line as well as the manhole overflow at Mandela Street which has been flowing into the tributary of Klein Olifant`s. an investigation by the Municipality revealed that the blockage was caused by foreign objects and that the line needs to be replaced. The line has been blocked and the Municipality has allocated R10 Million to rehabilitate the spillage and resolve the problem. A written and costed rehabilitation plan has been presented to the Commission.

The Commission is monitoring the implantation plan of the Municipality aimed at resolving the abovementioned issues.

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