Anger over water problem at clinic

2014-09-23 00:00

DISTRAUGHT residents of Swayimane, Wartburg, have slated authorities for failing to deal with an “ongoing” water crisis at Gcumisa Clinic.

Mildred Mnyakeni said the clinic has not had water for two weeks, during which time the matter was reported to authorities. It’s not only the clinic experiencing water problems but other households in the area.

“How can a clinic be without water? There shouldn’t be a day where a clinic is without water. This is ludicrous. Our basic human rights are being undermined,” Mnyakeni said.

She said it is the municipality’s responsibility to ensure that the community’s basic needs are met. “How do you expect patients to take medication without water? The toilets are a mess. This is an ongoing problem. No effort is being made to deal with the matter,” she said.

uMgungundlovu District Municipality spokesperson Mbali Ndlovu said Swayimane and surrounding areas were experiencing problems with access to water because of the installation of bulk pipelines from Claridge to Wartburg.

“The challenge will be alleviated once Phase One of the bulk pipeline is complete,” Ndlovu said.

She said the clinic has an elevated water tank, to which the municipality had installed a pump to carry water to the facility. However, maintenance of the pump was the clinic’s responsibility, she said.

Ndlovu acknowledged that no water tanker was being sent to the clinic, as had happened in the past, but said this was because the facility now had its own tank.

She added that a building contractor currently on site at the clinic was using the water tank installed at the facility.

“The sisters at the clinic were made aware that the contractor cannot be utilising the same water tank,” she said.

The Health Department did not respond to queries on the matter.


The Swayimane water crisis is not new. Previously The Witness reported that water supply to the primary health clinic had been intermittent, caused residents hardship.

• December/January 2013 — Residents suffer chronic water shortages.

• April 2013 — Wartburg residents spend Easter weekend without water. The supply is restored on Monday, only for taps to run dry again on Tuesday.

• October 2013 — Residents spend a week without water because the reservoir levels drop significantly when a pump stops working as a result of a power outage.

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