Readers may have noticed that Ndlambe Municipality frequently fails to respond to media queries.
This is most glaring and concerning when we cover issues of importance to the whole town, such as aspects of the water crisis and costly interventions like the seawater and wastewater reverse osmosis plant project.
The municipality still has not responded to our queries about the large number of omissions from the latest water quality tests.
We are grateful for concerned residents like Pamela Johnson who brought this to our attention.
She is right to be alarmed over the absence of results for testing for heavy metals which are known to be a health risk if consumed in drinking water.
We rarely see results of such testing, as the most common water sample tests done by the municipality are for e.coli and faecal coliforms – and even sight of these results has become rare over the past couple of years.
As Johnson said, “Particularly during a prolonged drought with low dam levels, the quality of water is likely to be compromised due to accumulation of heavier particles. Now, more than ever, there’s a need for frequent and rigorous testing, as most people who rely on municipal water supplies cannot afford to buy their own bottled water for drinking and cooking.”
This is a case where we could publish a story without an answer from the municipality as it was not dependent on their answer.
But often, the queries we pass on from residents about a number of issues require answers to justify an article, which remains pending and may never be published.
Here are some of the issues we have asked the municipality about over the past few weeks which they have not responded to:
An outside tap at the Sikhulise Skills Centre (municipal property) that is used by all and sundry, even in this water shortage. Taxis come and fill up containers there.
Many security cameras have been placed around town. We asked what procedure security companies need to go through to place such cameras on existing municipal lamp posts on public/municipal land, and if there is a rental charge.
We asked for an update on the Herotel fibre case and if the interdict did not include the placing of poles in residential properties.
We asked about the pollution in the Port Alfred Duck Pond – the story appeared last week without any municipal response.
We asked about the people apparently living next to the Duck Pond, who had set up camp there.
We ask questions all the time, many of which are never answered.
– Jon Houzet