Years without water in Sweetwaters ward

2017-11-15 06:00
PHOTO: Makhosandile zuluA leaking water pipe in Ward 3, in Sweetwaters is one reason why the area has no water, say residents.

PHOTO: Makhosandile zuluA leaking water pipe in Ward 3, in Sweetwaters is one reason why the area has no water, say residents.

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THE elderly and ill residents in certain parts of Mvelweni, Ward 3, in Sweetwaters are the most affected by the lack of water there, and their taps are dry. This led to the Msunduzi Municipality having to provide two water tankers to affected residents, but the tankers cannot access some areas in the ward because of the poor road conditions forcing residents to walk a long distance to get water from them.

A 54-year-old Mvelweni resident, Thulisile Radebe, said the tanker hasn’t made its rounds there for weeks.

“What I heard is that the tanker driver said he can’t access this part of the ward because of the road’s bad condition.”

She said she has to walk 500 metres with a wheelbarrow full of containers to the main road where the tanker stops.

Radebe lives with her family of five who use 10, 25-litre containers of water a day.

The family has a vertical water tank, but Radebe says it is empty because the gutter that feeds it was damaged during heavy rain several weeks ago.

“Even before the gutter was damaged, we could not drink the water from the tank because we were worried it might not be clean,” Radebe said.

Resident Sanele Mazibuko said he knows of a man in his seventies who can’t get water from the tanker because when it does its rounds his family is at work and school and he can’t do it alone.

Mazibuko said another reason for the water problem is that the municipality doesn’t attend to leaking water pipes in the area properly.

“A community meeting was held recently with the councillor and the community was told that by the beginning of November the water supply would be fully restored, but still there is no water,” Mazibuko said.

He said the challenges resulted in a community protest in July.

The ward councillor, Linford Madlala, said several issues compound the problem of supplying water to households there.

“The water scheme that was implemented for the Vulindlela area in 1997 was meant for the few households there at the time.

“The population has since grown, but the pipes that supply water in the area have never been upgraded to meet the growing demand,” Madlala said.

He said this, coupled with the drought, escalated the problem of supplying water there, however, the municipality has budgeted for the upgrading of the pipes to meet the demand.

He confirmed that two tankers supply water in the area, and that they cannot access certain areas due to poor road conditions, but, he said, the tankers are a temporary solution.

“We cannot expect the elderly to walk 400 metres to fetch water from a truck on the main road,” Madlala said.

The appointment of a contractor to upgrade the water supply scheme in the area is under way, according to Madlala.

“The municipality had also promised that water would be supplied alternatively to different areas until the contractor’s work has been concluded.”

He said a contractor conducted a site visit to the area three weeks ago and that a general manager from the municipal water department told him that addressing the water problem in the area would be fast-tracked.

“In a week’s time I will be meeting with relevant stakeholders, including iNduna, the traditional council, ward committees and municipality representatives to discuss updates on the water supply issue.

“Residents must understand that although the municipality promised that a subcontractor would be appointed by October, it takes time before the contractor and sub-contractors’ work gets under way,” Madlala said.

Msunduzi Municipality spokesperson, Thobeka Mafumbatha said: “The tender [to upgrade] advert was advertised and closed last week. We are hoping that all processes will be finished by the end of November.”


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