‘Forced to drink water like animals’

2013-05-30 00:00

HUNDREDS of people in the Greytown area can access clean water only on weekends as communal taps run dry.

The community in Matimatolo, in the uMvoti municipal district, are allegedly left high and dry every weekday as the communal taps supplying water to the area run dry.

It was not immediately clear what is behind the shortages.

The uMzinyathi District Municipality, which supplies the water, denied there were any shortages.

However, residents told The Witness they no longer had access to tap water.

“We have never been told why the water is cut off during the week,” said Norman Nzuza.

“When these taps were installed, they worked just fine. About three months ago, the water started drying up.”

He said the water would be turned off during the week and would be back on on Friday or Saturday, before being switched off again on Sunday.

“They also turn them on when there is a funeral … now what kind of a life is that?” he said.

Vusi Khanyile said they had been forced to share their water sources with animals.

“The government put these taps in so people could have access to clean water, but the current situation is not ideal. During the week, people have been forced to go back and drink in dirty streams like the animals.”

Greytown mayor Philani Mavundla, who is also the councillor for the area, confirmed the water shortages.

“The first person to answer this should be uMzinyathi District Municipality because it is their competency,” he said.

Mavundla said while the situation was undesirable, it was pointless to complain. “We cannot complain about the situation. We as Africans are used to living without water, we have lived without it before …”

Jeff Hassan, communications manager with the uMzinyathi District Municipality, denied there were water shortages.

“The taps there are working; where there are no taps, we deliver the water.”

He said the supply was sometimes disrupted by infrastructure upgrades, but this was only for a few hours.

When told that Mavundla had said there was no water in the Matimatolo area, Hassan said: “I would not want to agree with that.”

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