No water for almost two weeks: Learners asked to bring water from home, but taps are dry

2019-08-02 15:59
Some schools have been left without water for almost two weeks in the Cofimvaba area. (Nombulelo Damba-Hendrik, GroundUp)

Some schools have been left without water for almost two weeks in the Cofimvaba area. (Nombulelo Damba-Hendrik, GroundUp)

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A broken water pipe has left a number of villages without water for almost two weeks in Cofimvaba, Eastern Cape. The problem started on July 22. GroundUp was in these villages between July 26-31 and there was no water.

Water still had not been restored by August 2.

When GroundUp visited Duli Primary School in Luxhomo village, learners said the school had told them to bring their own water from home. But their homes are also without water.

A learner said he had been at school since 07:30 and would leave at 14:30, without having had any water to drink. "I was hoping that this tap has a little water, since it is also supported by a small tank," he said, kneeling at an outside standpipe near the school.

When the school asked the Chris Hani District Municipality to deliver water to them, they were given a quotation of R1 000.

"The municipality has no obligation to transport water for those schools at no cost," said municipal spokesperson Thobeka Mqamelo.

She said it was the responsibility of the Department of Education and that water was provided for communities and the schools benefit because they were part of the community.

However, in Luxhomo and Magwala villages, there was no water for the community either.

Mandungwana Mhlanga of Magwala said: "This area has no river and even the small dams we have are for animals. No one can drink that water.

"Since last week, I have been surviving with the three 20-litre cans I got when water came back for a few hours. I only use it to cook and drink. My three grandchildren are using one wet towel to wash," she said.

Mqamelo said the municipality was working around the clock to repair the damage. She confirmed that the water problem had started on the July 22.

She said Magwala and Luxhomo were supplied by the Tsojana Dam. An electricity outage had meant water could not be pumped to all areas fed by the dam. On July 25, electricity was restored, but on July 29 a water pipe burst, she said.

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