No reprieve for Sabie


Michele du Plessis

The Sabie community is up in arms about the water crisis, the lack of feedback from Thaba Chweu Municipality pertaining to these matters and the lack of transparency from TCLM. Remarks such “Do anyone know why we still have to pay for non-existing services?” and “Water, water, everywhere but no a drop in Sabie,” abounds on social media. The Sabie Chamber of Commerce and Tourism volunteered to assist TCLM on various occasions, but lack of any feedback from TCLM is hampering positive results.

On January 19th, TCLM, represented by Africa Ngomane (TCLM), Thabo Maake (TCLM), and SCCT representatives, Gwilym Rees (SCCT) and Richard Salt (SCCT- Engineer), visited the Main Pump station in Sabie to clarify the proposed changes. The Extension 3 reservoir lacks sufficient water supply to provide water to that section of the town.

“The details of the changes proposed were explained to the TCLM representatives, and how the town’s water supply would be improved by this relatively small modification which will allow the Harmony Hill pump to also divert water to the Extension 3 reservoir. Thabo stated that a pump set (and its control panel) from the old Simile pump station was being transferred to the Harmony Hill pump station imminently so that one of the Harmony Hill pumps currently in service could be repaired.

Africa explained that a contractor is on site to commence work on linking the Harmony Hill and Extension 3 reservoirs but that this was a relatively long duration project and it was agreed that the SCCT proposal could potentially provide an immediate solution at relatively low cost, as well as giving future assured flexibility of the pumping systems,” Captain Gwilym Rees said.

“It was explained that a quotation for all the material had been obtained, however, it was thought to be expensive. Some equipment could be sourced from existing spares. TCLM stated that they will not be able to supply from their (depleted) existing stocks but notwithstanding this, if the SCCT can find a more reasonable quotation than that provided by Dawson & Dobson, Africa undertook to have this signed off and passed through an expedited procurement process as this project being of an urgent nature. The project duration (making up the modification) is expected to be less than one week and disruption of the water supply while the modification is fitted is expected to be a matter of hours.” Various other suggestions on alleviating the critical issue of water supply were also discussed and agreed to commence with.

Subsequent to this Thabo Maake established that there was sufficient pipework at the old Simile pump station (now no longer in use) that could be used to make up the modification but for various reasons, the local residents prevented Maake from accessing and removing the necessary material. SCCT has requested TCLM Lydenburg to intervene.

“Clearly, these are significant matters that need to be dealt with very decisively and urgently, before the residents of Sabie take matters into their own hands. As always, the Chamber is standing by to assist, but we need the engagement with TCLM, the will and the “buy-in” from TCLM to move forward with this, for the good of the Sabie community as a whole.


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