Residents suffer without water

2015-11-11 06:00
BONIWE MOOI (28) and two-year-old Kamohelo battle water shortages in Caleb Motshabi, Mangaung, Bloemfontein. Photo: Mlungisi Louw

BONIWE MOOI (28) and two-year-old Kamohelo battle water shortages in Caleb Motshabi, Mangaung, Bloemfontein. Photo: Mlungisi Louw

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MORE than 1 000 residents of a poverty-stricken informal settlement, Caleb Motshabi, share six water taps that usually run dry by 08:00.

The informal settlement is situated approximately 15 km north of Bloemfontein and is occupied by mostly the unemployed.

One of the residents, 36-year-old Lebohang Moleko, said the taps were not enough to serve everyone.

“We have to wake up as early as 05:00 to collect water for the day, because the tap has already run dry by 08:00 and it gets crowded.

“When the taps go off, we walk to Mafora, another settlement some distance from where we live,” he said.

Moleko lives with his wife, Lerato Emily Mosweu (21), and their eight-month-old infant, Ofentse. The unemployed couple said their primary source of income was the R350 subsidy for Ofentse. The couple also does odd jobs to make ends meet.

A fellow resident, Moratuwa Senoamali (31), who moved to the area from Sterkspruit in the Eastern Cape, said she had come to Bloemfontein in search of a job and a better life for herself. She lives with her husband and their four children in a modest shack.

She said she fears for the health and well-being of her children, especially her two-month-old infant, because of their restricting and unhygienic living conditions.

The 27-year-old unemployed and uneducated Nokuthula Masonto relocated from Qwaqwa, also in search of a better life. She stated that her two-year-old son was constantly sick and she suspected it is due to the water.

“The baby is always vomiting and suffers from continuous diarrhoea. I suspect it is due to the water we source from the outside taps. I believe that the water is contaminated because I feel sick very often. We can’t live like this.

“What also bothers me is the fact that there is no clinic nearby. The nearest clinic is in Rockands, meaning I have to take a taxi to go there. This is often a problem because I am unemployed,” she added.

The locals of the area use a bucket system for toilets. They are bothered by the flies in and around their homes due to this method of waste disposal.

Nthabeleng Mohai (26) has been looking for a job for the past five years. Should she be successful, she said she would move to a better area.

“I’m highly disturbed by our living conditions. If I want to relieve myself, I must use a bucket or dig a hole here outside, where everyone can see my business,’’ she said, distressed.

Mohai said she has had enough.

Another resident, Boniwe Mooi (28) from Bosthabelo, shared her agony because of the appalling conditions. She said she was also tired of living in this shameful and degrading manner.

The residents disclosed that they have, on many occasions tried to acquire assistance from what they thought was the designated authorities of the community, but were unsuccessful in their attempts.

Sanna Makoloane, a regional executive member of the South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco), which is a movement aimed at helping the Caleb Motshabi community with their problems, said the community was in dire need of help and the organisation was doing its best to assist them.

“The problem is that we are not supported by the municipality, and there are illegal committees that arise all the time. These committees bring confusion to the people, which then makes our committee seem unofficial in the eyes of the community,’’ Makoloane concluded.
) Several attempts to obtain comments from the municipality’s spokesperson, Qondile Khedema, were unsuccessful.

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