Transparency in the implementation of government’s projects should be a norm and community members should be consulted regularly to keep them in the loop on the progress and delays of projects in their localities.This statement was echoed by different stakeholders convened by Water and Sanitation Deputy Minister, David Mahlobo and Lebogang Maile, the MEC for Human Settlements, Urban Planning, Cooperative Governance, and Traditional Affairs. The Section 63 stakeholder engagement with community leaders of different formations and role players in the project to stop the sewer spillages experienced in the Vaal were appraised of the preparatory plans to deal with the scourge effectively and efficiently. Rand Water, the implementing agent on behalf of the Department, presented a plan to community leaders and stakeholders present about the progress made in laying down the foundation that will see the beginning of the intervention work to stop spillages. The intervention work undertaken by Rand Water is set to create employment opportunities for local laborers and business opportunities for local small businesses. MEC Maile implored all role players to work for hand in glove to ensure that the spillages are stopped as a matter of urgency to restore people’s dignity and ensure local beneficiation. In addition, he appealed to politicians, particularly the local councilors to stay away from procurement issues as politicians are not responsible for procurement and awarding of contracts. He emphasized that Rand Water needs to hold workshops throughout the Vaal and educate people about what they needed to do to be part of the projects, who complies, and who doesn’t.
“As politicians, it is our task to play an oversight role and not involve ourselves in things that have got nothing to do with us. We need to allow Rand Water to work, ours is to be vigilant, give leadership and give support to officials so that this project is implemented without any delays”, he said, much to the applause from the stakeholders.Community Leaders had earlier raised various issues they were not happy about and appealed to the government to involve them in decision making in a consultative manner and not come to them when the decisions have already been made. Deputy Minister Mahlobo said the government needs to be transparent in how it operates and take people into confidence. He said: “if we are transparent, communities will begin to trust and have confidence in government again. “People out there think there is so much corruption in government, even in cases where there is none. It is because we do things in the corners and we do not consult properly and give feedback to our people. We need to decide if we want to please a few people at the expense of community members living here”. He advised that government and community members need to see value in the money spent on projects. Deputy Minster Mahlobo instructed Rand Water to work with law enforcement agencies to develop a security plan in the Vaal to stop the vandalism of water infrastructure. Furthermore, he said a capacity building plan, as well as an operations and maintenance plan that will ensure that the occurrence does not happen again, are needed.