Girls haul water for their school

2013-05-13 00:00

HIGH school girls in the Mnyandu area of Vulindlela have to walk several kilometres a day while carrying heavy buckets of water to flush the school’s toilets.

The municipal water supply in the area is unreliable and the water hauled by the girls is what keeps Emzamweni High School’s toilets flushed and its feeding scheme going.

Also affected is the nearby Mzimba Primary, although a generous neighbour of the school brings water on his bakkie, sparing the younger pupils from hauling the heavy buckets.

Gugu Ndlela, whose house is between the two schools, said she was furious with Umgeni Water. The residents pay for their water, she said. “My blood pressure goes up when I think about this, because we are never notified when water is going to be cut off so that we can prepare alternatives.”

Ndlela, a part-time Unisa student, said she was supposed to be studying for exams last Thursday, but instead was catching up with her laundry when the water came back on for the first time since the previous Friday. “Even if water comes back, by 7 pm it is off again and this has been the case since October,” said Ndlela.

Umgeni Water spokesperson Shami Harichunder said the utility was aware of water shortages in the area, which he attributed to rapid growth in the number of people living there and the failure of the supply system to cope.

He appealed to local residents to inform Umgeni Water when the water went off so repair technicians could be sent quickly to restore the supply. The number to phone is 0809 331 820 (toll-free).

Harichunder said as a short-term measure Umgeni Water was in talks with Msunduzi Municipality about placing water tanks in the area that could be used when the supply went off.

Education Department spokesperson Sihle Mlotshwa said Emzamweni High reported the problem last Monday and the circuit manager had held meetings with the Msunduzi municipal manager and mayor and local leaders to try to find a solution.

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