Resident dies in queue

2016-01-13 06:00
LONG WAIT FOR WATER: The taps in Senekal have run dry and residents are forced to wait in the heat to get water delivered to them by trucks.   Photo: Conrad Bornman

LONG WAIT FOR WATER: The taps in Senekal have run dry and residents are forced to wait in the heat to get water delivered to them by trucks. Photo: Conrad Bornman

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A 56-YEAR-OLD man has died after waiting hours in the sun to get water in Senekal.

The deceased, Sello Majang, was one of the many locals from the Matwabeng Location in Senekal waiting in long queues to get water from municipal water tankers.

With a population of 27 000 people, households in Senekal have been restricted to a mere 50 litres of water per day since the middle of December.

The deceased’s son, Aubrey Majang (27), said his father had collapsed on Tuesday, 5 January, while waiting for water tankers to arrive at the Faith Mission Church in the Matwabeng area.

After having waited hours in the blistering heat, Majang was rushed to the Senekal Hospital and was later transferred to the Pelonomi Hospital in Bloemfontein where he was declared dead.

Aubrey said his father had suffered a mild heart attack caused by the heat and dehydration.

“My father died while desperately queuing for water,” said Aubrey.

The Faith Mission Church is littered with empty containers from locals waiting as long as 12 hours a day to get a dribble of water.

Locals who can’t afford to buy 20 litres of water at R8 have no choice but to wait in the long queues.

Letia Motsitsi (72) was one of the senior locals hoping to go home with a few litres of drinking water.

Although Motsitsi has a frail structure, she says she is forced to push through the crowds when the water tankers arrive or risk going home with no water.

“Sometimes blows are nearly exchanged when residents quarrel over water,” said Motsitsi.

Amelia Mosoeunyana (72) complained about her livestock which had fallen prey to the severe drought.

She criticised the municipality for bringing water to the community haphazardly and failing to stick to agreed time slots.

“Not only do we walk long distances to get to the areas where the water tankers are stationed, we also wait long hours for the water tankers to arrive,” said Mosoeunyana.

The municipal manager of the Setsoto Local Municipality, Sugar Ramakarane, said the municipality was buying water from 14 farmers who had boreholes around Senekal.

Ramakarane said delays at the 25 water stations across Senekal were caused by a high water demand. According to Ramakarane all three dams supplying water to the community of Senekal have run dry.

“I urge all South Africans to pray for rain,” he said.

The Faith Mission Church is littered with empty containers from locals waiting as long as 12 hours a day to get a dribble of water.

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