WATER CRISIS CONTINUES Residents call for aid

2019-10-16 06:00
A spring that is used by residents in Kranskop. photo: andile sithole

A spring that is used by residents in Kranskop. photo: andile sithole

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RESIDENTS in uMvoti have asked the MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta), Sipho Hlomuka, to intervene in uMvoti Municipality amid fears over the ongoing water crisis in the area.

A resident in Ward 6 at Emakhabeleni, near Kranskop, who wished to remain anonymous said the community travels long distances to fetch water from the Tugela River.

“The river is not safe. A resident drowned last week when he tried to cross the river. We urge the Cogta MEC to come and assist us.

“Pensioners and the frail that are unable to walk down to the Tugela River have to pay R10 for each bucket of water.

“We use donkeys to carry water from the river to our homes, and those who are unable to go to the river have to pay. Sometimes the donkeys run away and we are left with no option but to hire local drivers to deliver water to our homes,” said the concerned resident.

A pensioner in the area, Agnes Buthelezi (80), urged local government to intervene, saying: “I have to walk abut 10 km to fetch water from the Tugela River. Our officials and local government need to intervene.

“A water tanker from uMzinyathi District Municipality delivers water in certain areas in the ward. It does not come to our area and as a result we are always left out.”

In speaking on the issue, Ward 14 councillor Zwakushiwo Ndlovu said: “We need the intervention of the provincial government because our people are suffering.”

Ward 7 National Freedom Party councillor Philani Mavundla said his office will be approaching the Public Protector to ask for intervention, saying: “uMzinyathi District Municipality is made up of a number of municipalities, including uMvoti, uMsinga, Nquthu, and Ndumeni Municipalities. The water crises facing these respective areas has reached a point of requiring intervention at a national level, hence the realisation to draft this urgent memorandum.

“Noteworthy is the plight faced by residents of uMvoti as all wards are affected by this water fiasco, which can be classified as a pandemic of epic proportions.

“In Ward 7, at Solomon-Mzolo Village, is a further example of mishandling of the water issue in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands. Residents are forced to go up to 14 days at a time without water. This forces them to seek it in neighbouring townships and settlements. This is not always possible for the sickly and impoverished, as this practice mostly requires leasing of trailers, vehicles or using brute-strength.

“Twenty-five years into democracy it is an error in law, and a violation of basic Human Rights, to have humans competing with animals for water, and people being deprived of it on the basis of geographical location, social standing or political affiliation.

“R500 million was spent on a pipeline to transport water from Craigieburn Dam to uMvoti, yet years on not a single drop of water has been provided by this project,” he said, adding that residents of Mooi-Mpofana continue to protest about not being provided with water from this dam even though it falls within the jurisdiction and territorial space of their municipality.

“The justification they are provided with is that the water is provisioned for uMvoti yet, as highlighted above, the project was started but no water has ever been provided to this day. This is the third year that the residents of Mooi-Mpofana continue to protest over access to clean drinking water. It also the third year that the residents of uMvoti are without water,” said Mavundla.

Attempts to get comment from uMzinyathi District Municipality were unsuccessful at the time of going to print.

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