No water since December

2017-07-04 13:45
Ezinketheni residents have to walk miles to get water. INSET: Ezinketheni resident Nomusa Masikane sits next to one of the Jojo tanks in the area that have not had water since December last year. Local residents said numerous attempts to get answers from Msunduzi Municipality have proved fruitless.

Ezinketheni residents have to walk miles to get water. INSET: Ezinketheni resident Nomusa Masikane sits next to one of the Jojo tanks in the area that have not had water since December last year. Local residents said numerous attempts to get answers from Msunduzi Municipality have proved fruitless. (Ian Carbutt)

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No water for seven months.

That is the nightmare of residents from Ezinketheni near Northdale who have not had a drop of water since December.

The residents have to walk long distances to get to water sources or pay to hire vans to transport water into the area.

Some residents who spoke to The Witness said they spend much of their working and sleeping time in queues waiting to collect water.

Residents said the main pipes supplying water to Jojo tanks in the area, have not been feeding into the tanks, due to low water pressure, because of suspected illegal water connections.

A resident, Mpume Masikane, said she has resorted to fetching enough water to last her family the whole month for cooking, washing, cleaning and bathing.

“My husband works far away from home. When he is on leave he has to ensure that we have enough water to last us until he comes back home.

“The last time I reported the matter to the municipality’s call centre I was told the issue will be sorted out … months later nothing has been done,” she said.

Masikane said when she consulted with Ward 30 councillor Renesha Jugimohan, she was told that the matter would not be resolved until people in the area stop connecting to the water pipes illegally.

“She told me we were not the only ones facing water shortages. She said she would try and get the municipality to dispatch water tankers to the area.” However, Masikane said this did not happen.

Pensioner Ellen Ndlovu (63) also shared her plight.

“I had to wake up at 11 pm last night [Sunday] to go and fetch water to avoid the long queues. My last round was around 3 am.

“I can’t afford to hire a car to go and fetch water for me. I rely on my social grant money and it’s not enough.

“My legs can barely carry me anywhere. I suffer every day and risk my life,” said Ndlovu.

When The Witness visited the area on Monday we were greeted by scenes of locals pushing wheelbarrows transporting water to their homes.

John Gwala said they have called the municipality numerous times.

“Whenever we call the call centre they promise that the issue will be sorted out.

“We all have reference numbers and when we do follow-ups it’s the same story over and over again.”

Gwala said he sometimes has to pay up large amounts to hire a van to go and fetch water.

“It depends on the person you have hired. Some can make you pay up to R200. What can you say, because you need the water.”

He said they felt deserted by the municipality.

“We are starting to think our suffering forms part of their water-saving strategies.”

No response to queries was received from Msunduzi Municipality.

Jugimohan said the water department had confirmed that there were illegal water connections in the area resulting in shortages.

“Officials are investigating further and doing an inventory as to how many homes are connected. I will be calling a community meeting with residents in order to resolve the water shortages in the area.”

Azalea worried last year’s dry taps are returning

Taps ran dry for five consecutive days in Azalea last week with residents filling water buckets from makeshift communal taps kilometres away from their homes.

Last year, Azalea residents went more than four months without water when the City was in the depths of the worst drought in years. Msunduzi Municipality reminded residents and businesses last week to use water sparingly as dam levels are still low.

Azalea residents said their water situation “eased up” since last year.

“It was a daily struggle for four months last year and the pipe we would go to was very suspicious. It was just a pipe in the middle of nowhere and we did not know the source of that water,” one man said.

“Last week had us extremely worried that we would be taken right back to how we suffered last year.”

He said their water supply was cut off last Monday and was only restored on Sunday. “For the five days we had to go early in the morning with our buckets to collect water from a pipe that burst, which someone installed a tap into. The women go down to the river to wash clothes because they cannot waste the little fresh water we are receiving,” he said.

It is unclear what caused the water shortage to the area for five days as Msunduzi Municipality did not respond to questions by the time of going to print. However, The Witness previously reported that water and sanitation manager Brenden Sivparsad said out­lying and high-lying areas such as Azalea were their biggest concern as water reached those residents last and was cut off first in the event of supply problems.


Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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