The Botshabelo and ThabaNchu townships will benefit from the R2.5-billion Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality (MMM) water and sanitation project to eradicate 56 000 buckets and pit latrine in these areas.
This announced was made at the Infrastructure Development Programme (IDP) budget conference held in Botshabelo on Wednesday. During this session the municipality informed the community about the infrastructure development programmes that are underway, as well as those that are planned for the next three financial years.
Botshabelo is situated 55 kilometres east of Bloemfontein, and ThabaNchu a further 12 kilometres. These are two of the most impoverished communities within Mangaung. The unemployment rate in the Mangaung is at 27.7 percent, while 37.2 percent of the youth is unemployed. Over 25 000 workers commute from these two townships to Bloemfontein daily.
The MMM city manager, Sibongile Mazibuko said this project will bring health and environmental benefits for the people of Botshabelo and ThabaNchu. She added that although this is not going to be achieved overnight, it will eventually change the face of the two townships.
“This is about dignity; the VIP toilets are not dignified. Another benefit that this project will bring is that of the environment. Some of these VIP toilets are old and sometimes during rainy season the level of water in the pit rises and creates environmental problems,” said Mazibuko.
Mazibuko described the project as a sanitation and water programme, as the water-borne system can never be achieved without enough water supplies. This means there will be a need for more reservoirs and water treatment plants. The MMM has started with the project in Sections J, K, F and W of Botshabelo. Pipelines have been laid in some sites and toilets have been completed.
While these projects are underway, water cut offs are frequent and the MMM pleaded with the community within the municipality to bear with them. Three contractors were appointed in December 2012 to install water-borne toilets in ThabaNchu and Botshabelo.
The Ratau and Moroka locations in ThabaNchu are among the priority areas where 130 flushing toilets will be installed. In Bultfontein, 230 sites will be upgraded, so will 295 sites in Section F of Botshabelo.
“We thank the people of Mangaung who have been cooperative during these challenging times. There are times when we have to institute water cut-offs and this proved to be an inconvenience to the community. We know it is not easy for residents but this is one of our challenges, because we are working on residential areas,” explained Mazibuko.