Matatiele residents scramble for water

2008-07-22 00:00

COUNCILLORS are pointing fingers at each other after taps went dry, leaving residents without water for three days in Matatiele.

Matatiele Mayor Ntai Selo accused the Alfred Nzo District Municipality of mismanagement, leading to the water crisis.

Many Matatiele residents have been unable to wash themselves or flush their toilets since Saturday, as the water levels of the dam that supplies the area are low.

“Water supply is the responsibility of the district municipality. It’s an issue of mismanagement on the part of the district,” said Selo.

“We have requested the district to hand over to local municipality the issue of water supply in the area because we are capable of supplying our own water”.

Selo said the district municipality should have issued water restrictions and devised methods of providing water to residents. By yesterday residents had still not received water.

“It’s unacceptable that people can go for three days without water,” he said.

Selo called an emergency meeting for the executive committee to devise ways of getting water to residents. “As a local municipality we can’t sit idling when the people have no water,” he said.

Alfred Nzo District Municipality spokesman Mphumzi Zuzile denied that the problem was due to mismanagement and said that the district was aware of the water shortage.

“The problem is a result of poor rainfall in the area, which has led to water levels decreasing.”

Zuzile said the dam is not completely dry, but “water levels are very low”. “Residents who are in high places are not getting water, but in other places water is available,” he said, adding that the council has issued a notice to residents to use water sparingly.

According to Zuzile, plans have been put into place to provide water to residents. “We have arranged … to supply water in the areas that are affected.

“In the meantime, our engineers are working … to try and get water supply from alternative sources. Tomorrow everything will be back to normal …”

sandilez@witness.co.za

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