Tempers flare as Senekal residents queue for water

2016-01-05 17:41


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Durban – Standing in line for water and dealing with flaring tempers and rising temperatures has become a daily reality for residents of Senekal, in the Free State.

One school principal said he had no idea of how he would provide water for his 320 pupils when they returned to classes later this month.

Matric pupil Rethabile Sithole, 18, from Matabeng township, said in addition to no water, scorching temperatures were making life harder.

"There are lines for tankers from 02:00 in the morning. Tankers are only around once a day. By the time you get to the tanker there is often no water at all.

"The heat has become increasingly difficult for us as well. We are finding it very hard to cope. It is so bad that I am actually waiting to go to college so I do not have to endure this anymore. It is unbearable."

Social worker Paul Matebesi, who lives in the Tambo informal settlement, said people were becoming impatient.

"There is such a battle for water that people have become nasty to each other. The long lines to wait at tankers begin in the early hours of the morning. If you are working, you will miss out. As it stands, people have been waiting at my offices for me for an hour, but I had to get water for my family.

"People in the lines for water are also very rude, using strong language to try to jump the queue. I have a wife and two kids and we use the bucket system. This lack of water is terrible."

Principal at the Paul Erasmus High School, Jacques Bradford, said he was worried about what would happen when his 320 pupils started school this month.

"Our kids stay on school premises. Thus far we have been lucky because our kids are at home on holiday. But I am concerned for when they return, because we require 25 000 litres of water per day. They need proper sanitation and showering facilities and there is almost no water in our area.

"We have a borehole at school, but that produces just 1 000 litres per day."

Betz Nuiwenhuys, a manager at an old age home in Senekal, said the 72 residents had not had proper showers since early December. 

"We open the showers for five minutes at a time only if we can. I have to say though, we have also had tremendous support from people in the community who have come and donated bottled water to us."

Municipal water services manager Thabo Mokhethoa said more than 260 000 litres of water a day was being sent to Senekal. This equated to 50 litres per household per day.

Farmers with boreholes had been asked to help provide water, and were being paid 4c per litre, which exluded transport costs. 

Mokhethoa said they were waiting for help from the provincial and national government.

Read more on:    bloemfontein  |  water

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