Water convoy heads for drought-stricken Senekal

Bloemfontein - Five trucks carrying water are on their way to drought-stricken Senekal and surrounding areas. 

The bottled water would leave Johannesburg for the Free State on Wednesday, Gift of the Givers Foundation chairperson Imtiaz Sooliman said on Tuesday.

"Today we are meeting with the disaster management team to determine which areas to focus on, but we want to focus more on areas that struggle to get water," he said. 

Sooliman said they would provide a water tanker and more Jojo tanks. Water would also be sent to QwaQwa.   

Several boreholes would be paid for, if a hydrological study recommended it, he said. 

The defence force in Bethlehem, aid organisations, and people from other provinces had been delivering water to residents in Senekal.

The Setsoto local municipality was providing more than 260 000 litres of water a day to residents, which equated to 50 litres per household per day.

Water services manager Thabo Mokhethoa said they were buying it from local farmers for 15c a litre. Farmers were however concerned that their boreholes were running dry, and had reduced their output. 

Senekal residents had complained that 50 litres per household per day was not nearly enough for a family. One woman recently said she lived in a household of 10 people. She was standing in a queue with a baby strapped to her back, waiting for a water tanker.

Dealing with flaring tempers, with no reprieve from the scorching sun, in the Free State town had become a daily reality for residents. Some said they started queuing for water from 03:00 and sometimes wait in line for hours with no sign of water trucks.  

Last Thursday, some residents said if taps did not start running with clean water soon they would not vote in this year’s local government elections.

"They want us to vote for them, but when we need help they don’t want to assist at all. We are not voting this year," a number of residents said.

Shops, restaurants, and petrol stations in the town had started putting up signs with the words "no toilets".

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