Shack residents: We've been having it!

2018-01-28 06:00
Luleka Ndziweni in the Siyahlala informal settlement. She says she uses 20 litres per day for herself, her husband and five children. Picture: Peter Luhanga / wcn

Luleka Ndziweni in the Siyahlala informal settlement. She says she uses 20 litres per day for herself, her husband and five children. Picture: Peter Luhanga / wcn

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Many middle class Capetonians are horrified at the thought of arming themselves with their rates bill and queueing to collect 25 litres per person per day from 200 water collection points around the city, as Western Cape premier Helen Zille said on Monday.

But in the Siyahlala informal settlement near Milnerton, there’s a sense of “so what?”. They’ve been doing this for years.

Residents City Press spoke to in the 1 200-household settlement say they use less than the current limit of 50 litres per person per day.

Tembinkosi Janda said they use one water standpipe and have no toilet.

They cross the railway line to relieve themselves in the bushes.

Vuyiseka Njanjala lives with her husband and three children.

She walks about 400m to join a long queue at the standpipe to fill her 20-litre bucket, something she has done since moving there in 2007.

Njanjala says she makes three trips with three buckets totalling 60 litres every third day.

Every morning, she boils water in a 1.5 litre kettle, which she mixes in a tub with 6 litres of cold water in which she washes all three children.

She and her husband use the same amount of water for washing themselves.

Phelisa Tafeni shares her three-room shack with five children and her husband.

They use 20 litres a day for the whole family – including bathing, cooking and washing dishes.

When she’s finished the dishes, she shares the soapy water with neighbours, who wash theirs in it. It is then used to wash and rinse the buckets used to fetch water.

Andile Skutalo lives alone. His 25-litre jerrycan lasts him three days.

On laundry day he uses an extra 25 litres.

Unlike their richer counterparts, there will be no change to Siyahlala residents’ routine.

The city said water would continue being piped to township standpipes and the central business district, to keep the economy going.

Read more on:    helen zille  |  water crisis  |  day zero

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