Eastern Cape Cogta MEC Hon. Xolile Nqatha has issued a stern warning against the people are who hell-bent on destroying water infrastructure at Butterworth and in some parts of the province.
This after a spate of water infrastructure vandalism occurred in the following Butterworth pump stations:
- On the 21 of July pump station No 2 was vandalised and its corrugated roof was stolen
- On the 30th of July a cable for the reservoir No 3 pump feeding Butterworth Hospital was also vandalised.
- And on the 1st of August the telemetry cables which assist communication between plant and reservoir No 2 were cut.
MEC Nqatha said water services and reticulation are at the core of the delivery of basic services to communities.
“I have learnt with much shock the rate of vandalism of water infrastructure that has to ensure such delivery is a reality, especially considering the urgent need to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Vandalism of water infrastructure is amongst the worst offences being perpetrated by some criminal elements in our respective communities and this act has dire consequences as it causes interruption in water supply,” said Nqata
He said all those vandalising water infrastructure should face the full might of the law and not be spared any harsh sentence. According to Criminal Procedure Act, 1977 those found to have tampered with, damaged or destroyed essential infrastructure should face a severe penalty such as imprisonment of up to 30 years. This includes those who collude with or assist another person in tampering with, damaging or destroying essential infrastructure. In the case of a corporate body as contemplated in section 332(2) of the Criminal Procedure Act, 1977, a fine not exceeding R100 million will be imposed.
The MEC has also urged communities to use water sparingly.
“Whilst community members are encouraged to wash their hands regularly with soap and water to curb the spread of COVID-19, I would like to urge water users to do so without wastage and save as much water as possible”, he said.
He has called on communities to remain forever vigilant and report any forms of vandalism to police and to take charge of the infrastructure provided to them and ensure its safety.