The Ministry of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation has welcomed the court judgement between Minister Sisulu, Interim Board members and Mr Phineas Legodi, the Chief Executive Officer of Lepelle Northern Water which is one of the water utilities of the Department of Water and Sanitation.
In June the Interim Board had placed the Chief Executive under precautionary suspension. Mr Legodi then approached the Court on an urgent basis to declare the appointment of the Interim Board by Minister unlawful, and the court to set aside his precautionary suspension. The court has since made a ruling that the matter be struck off the roll and that the applicant pay costs incurred by respondents in opposing the application.
It is worth noting that the term of the Board of the Lepelle North Water had come to an end at the end of March 2020. However, this was extended and the Interim Board was subsequently appointed in May 2020. The process to appoint a new Board is underway.
Minister Sisulu believes that while all citizens are at liberty to approach the courts to seek justice, this should not make those in the business of serving people to lose sight and be derailed on their mandate. Those in leadership positions in particular are expected at all times to conduct themselves in a professional and ethical manner by putting first interests of the communities and stakeholders they are meant to serve.
The Minister remains concerned that many communities are still living without water and has called on the Interim Board and management of Lepelle Northern Water to ensure that the water needs of the people of Limpopo are speedily met. “Our people’s needs are primary; the people of Limpopo can no longer be denied this basic human right”, said Sisulu. The Province has over the years been experiencing drought conditions and all the efforts of the water board must be geared towards responding to their urgent water needs.