Tap water still a pipe dream for villagers

2009-08-28 10:02

HAIR salon owner Ronny Mchabi says he loses about R700 a day

whenever he is forced to shut his business in Giyani, Limpopo, due to a lack of


“Sometimes we do not open for three days a week and we lose ­money

and customers,” he says.

Pensioner ­Miluvha Mathebula has been ­spending almost a quarter of

her monthly R1 000­ ­government grant on water since last year.

She spends R60 a week on water from local borehole owners at R1 for

a 25-litre drum, because she cannot travel to the nearest well which is 5km from

her home, Ga-Mokgwathi village in Limpopo.

With about R760 left after she has bought water, Mathebula has to

spend R300 on an 80kg bag of mealie meal, R120 on a burial ­society and the rest

on sugar, tea, cooking oil, vegetables, soap and pocket money for members of her

family of 12.

“I am forced to take loans in the middle of the month to keep the

fire burning until the next payday.”

Mathebula’s eldest daughter, Maria, is also feeling the pinch.“If I

had money I would relocate because this area has no water,” she says.

However, local resident Isaac Selowa (24) is making the best of the


Selowa wakes up every morning at about 5am, harnesses his donkey to

a cart and fetches water from a well in the Mobaba River bed to sell to

Ga-Mokgwathi residents for R4 for a 25-litre drum. He has to scoop up the water

with a bucket to fill the 40 drums on his cart.

It takes him about two hours to do this, depending on how long the

queue is.

Back in the village, he delivers his orders and then takes the

remaining drums back home to sell.

Selowa says he had to increase his prices from R3 to R4 because he

has to travel further to get water because of the drought that saw the nearby

Mothathi River drying up early this year.

He says he makes about R200 a week, but business is ­slowing down

as residents find other ­sources of water.

For now many villagers will have to make do with Selowa’s services

as it doesn’t appear that the government will be providing them with reliable

tap water any time soon.

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