LEPHALALE — Sewage Pump Station 23 in OR Tambo is located opposite Ocean Basket, Cappuccino’s and the Palm Park Hotel. The terrible smell of raw sewage running into the Mogol River is a serious problem for, amongst others, the people in the restaurant business. This pump station has been malfunctioning for a good part of the last five years. In the last two weeks, a large generator was installed and a toilet without any running water was built on the premises. On inquiry, Mogol Post was informed that the toilet is for a security guard, guarding the generator. Mogol Post visited the site and spoke to the security guard on duty. She was sitting on the opposite side of the road, saying she could not bear the smell. With the next visit to the site no security guard was to be seen.
Mogol Post asked the manager of infrastructure at Lephalale Municipality, Lawrence Tlhako a few questions in an attempt to shed light on the contentious issue.
MP: How is it possible to wait more than five years to repair/replace a pump/s in a Pump Station that is not working while the sewage is flowing into the Mogol River? This whilst letters were written to the Municipality regarding the problem
LT: The Municipality secured a three year contract for the repair of the pumps which only lapsed in 2015. Since then the Municipality has been monitoring the pump station and repairing faulty pumps or replacing broken pumps regularly. Since the beginning of January 2016 five pumps had to be replaced due to foreign materials that are caught in the rotors of the pump. We appeal again to the community to refrain from throwing foreign objects into the sewer system. We also urge businesses to install oil traps to help us in this regard.
MP: What is the reason for the newly built toilet on the site that has no water connection? No cognisance has been taken for the fact that it is at the entrance of the town. What makes it even worse is the fact that the (open) toilet pipe is buried under the ground and the opening of the pipe is on someone else’s property. Where is the toilet connected to as it appears to have been buried three metres in the ground of somebody else? Is there building plans submitted and approved for this?
LT: The toilet was not built, but is a mobile toilet. It was placed there for the security guard on duty.
MP: How are you going to prevent unauthorised persons from using the toilet?
LT: It is the responsibility of the security guard to ensure proper use of the facility.
MP: Is there any logic in buying a brand new generator for a Pump Station which is totally inadequate and most of the time out of order? At what cost has this been done and was the tender process followed?
LT: The generator was acquired to ensure that the pumps keep running when there is a power outage. This is to prevent further overflows. Yes, tender processes were followed.
MP: Why is a security guard from Modimolle (Triotic Security Services) appointed when there are so many local security companies? At what cost whilst the pump station is not working?
LT: Normal procurement procedures were followed in this regards.
MP: Is the Pump Station going to be fully operational after being repaired / replaced? Will the Pump Station be able to carry the quantity hereafter? For purposes of completeness we have information that shows that the excuse of huge quantities is not correct but rather the fact that the system is not operational at all.
LT: The municipality is working towards installing a new system with more up to date technology. (Similar to the system used at pump station 1, which is functioning well). The new technology will also reduce odour and will grind foreign material before it moves through the pump.
MP: Why wasn’t adequate planning made before the purchasing of the “new pump”. On the one hand they, (Municipality) claims that Palm Park will buy the new pump(s) (because apparently the Municipality do not have the funds) and which have not been done but then on the other hand they (Municipality) claim that they have installed a new pump. Something does not add up.
LT: The Municipality is currently trying to maintain the status quo until the new technology pump which will be initially funded by Palm Park Hotel is installed. A Memorandum of Agreement is currently being drafted between Palm Park and Lephalale Municipality for the purchasing and subsequent reimbursement of the pump.
Afriforum is also investigating the matter with urgency and they conducted tests on the water of the Mogol River.