The water tanker problem in Tzaneen will soon be no more. That is if the agreement entered into between the Group of Private Water Tankers and the Greater Tzaneen Municipality holds water – pun intended. This week Bulletin again received numerous complaints from residents and business owners in specifically the old and new industrial areas, of hundreds of litres of water being drawn from fire hydrants by unmarked, private trucks bearing JoJo tanks.

In the past Bulletin has reported on this matter and we were told by the GTM communications department that the trucks were allowed to draw water and transport it to the rural areas where there was a water shortage which the municipality could not service effectively due to a shortage of vehicles.

We were also told that a list existed upon which the various private water tankers was listed and that a qualified municipal employee would be tending to the fire hydrant from where the water would be drawn to ensure that no damage to municipal property occurred.

This list was never furnished to us, and not a week after this initial statement, we published a video of a fire hydrant spewing thousand of litres of potable water into the ground after its head was broken off by one of these private trucker teams.

Spokesperson for the GTM, Neville Ndlala, this week furnished us with a letter from the municipal manager, Thapelo Matlala, addressed to the Group of Private Water Tankers (GPWT), informing them of the approval of their request to draw water from the Greater Tzaneen distribution network. The letter was dated 3 May 2021.

In this letter Matlala listed very specific requirements which must be adhered to in order to uphold the agreement. One of these being that a list of the trucks which will be drawing water be submitted to the council in order to establish a database – which means that there never was a list as mentioned by the GTM’s communications department in November last year.

Matlala also stated in the letter that the GPWT will be required to pay a Council approved rate of R16.50 per kilolitre of water drawn, and that proof of payment must be presented before any water can be drawn.

The tankers will only be allowed to draw their water at an approved point which in this case has been identified as 21 Koedoe Street in the industrial area. No trucks can draw from any other point and the operators of these trucks will be liable for a hefty fine should they not adhere to any of the regulations stipulated in the letter.

Residents of Tzaneen are encouraged to report these trucks to the municipality or send images or videos of transgressing trucks to joe@farnorthbulletin.co.za

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