Dark City residents protest after sharing one tap for two decades

2017-07-06 09:05
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Bushbuckridge – The community of Dark City in Bushbuckridge in Mpumalanga, frustrated over sharing a single tap for over 20 years, has barricaded the entrance to the local municipality.

The residents of Dark City have been protesting since last Thursday outside the Thulamahashe Municipality.

Disgruntled residents warned that gates of the municipality will only be reopened in 14 days, unless the municipality undertakes to resolve the water crisis.

According to resident Hittler Mnisi, 74, the community has shared a single tap.

"I have been staying in Dark City for as long as I can remember. We gave birth to our kids while staying here and now they have their own kids, but we still have not had the opportunity of running water in our households.

"We are poor but the lack of water makes us poorer," said Mnisi.

He said they had no access to water even though a water plant was being built on the border of their village.

"Our municipality doesn’t want us because they know about our situation, but they have since been ignoring us, but during election campaign they come here to our village and made promises that they never kept.

"It is frustrating that the same water transformer that transmits water to villages like New Forest, Buyisonto, Kumani, as well as townships such as Thulamahashe, operates from inside Dark City but we are still not getting any water," said Mnisi.

'Queue for water until midnight'

Louis Mathebula, 81, lives approximately a kilometre away from where the villagers draw their water.

"We all queue at another man’s house now instead of the old street pipe that has been broken over three years now. It is very expensive to connect a pipe to my house as I am only a pensioner.

"It has been difficult to get water. We have to wake up at 03:00 in the morning to go out and queue for water. Sometimes we have to go in the evening to queue and [end] up going home late," said Mathebula.

Martha Mthethwa, 45, said residents who collected water at night were exposed to crime.

"We are exposed to many dangers because at times we have to queue for water until midnight. The municipality needs to come around and look at the situation in our village from our perspective," she said.

Mnisi Aubrey, Bushbuckridge Local Municipality spokesperson said that they are aware of the shortage of water.

"A sum of R1.5m is already set aside to work on providing water in Dark City in four months’ time. We are done with design. We are now only left with the procurement process which includes advertising and finding a contractor to start with the job. The Dark City community is no exception.

"Bushbuckridge Local Municipality is a funded rural municipality and for the past five years we have been struggling financially, hence it has been hard to execute some parts of our service delivery role" he said.

Read more on:    mbombela  |  protests  |  service delivery

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