WATCH | Butterworth residents closed N2 with burning tyres as drought and strike leave taps dry

2019-08-13 13:09
Bhungeni informal settlement residents in Butterworth are using any water they can find. (Nombulelo Damba-Hendrik, GroundUp)

Bhungeni informal settlement residents in Butterworth are using any water they can find. (Nombulelo Damba-Hendrik, GroundUp)

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Residents of Butterworth closed the busy N2 from East London to Mthatha with burning tyres on Monday, GroundUp reported.

They are demanding that the Amathole District Municipality (ADM) delivers water to their small town where the taps have run dry.

Monday was the second day that residents protested. On Sunday, they also closed the N2 for several hours.

Residents say they have been out of water for a week now, since an unprotected strike at the municipality started on August 5. The workers are demanding an annual pay increase of 6.5%.

Butterworth CBD, Zizamele and Msobomvu are supplied by the Xilinxa Dam which is almost empty. These areas usually got water between 05:00 and 08:00, and again between 17:00 and 20:00.


Residents and the municipality claim that the supply has been sabotaged.

When GroundUp visited the town centre last week, there was no water. Public toilets were closed. People we spoke to said they were using the veld instead.

Cuba informal settlement and extensions were getting water delivered by tankers before the strike. Resident Axolile Soto said the area has now been without water for two weeks.

"We are now relying on dirty water from a small river which is a kilometre away… That river is for animals," said Soto.

"Ngcuwa Dam [which is empty]… is full of sand and the municipality is doing nothing about that. Residents once offered to dig the dam, but ADM promised to bring its contractors to do the work and that was three years ago," he said.

Residents with cars are fetching water from a small dam outside of town. They say the water is dirty, but that they can do laundry with it. They are buying drinking water.

Residents of Bhungeni use a small small river behind their informal settlement to do laundry. Some said they drink the water, but first boil it.

A month ago, the ADM announced that R156m would be allocated to the Mnquma Local Municipality to implement water and sanitation projects.

On its Facebook page, the ADM asked for patience. It said 14 water tankers had been outsourced and that they would operate under private security.

It said private security would be extended to treatment plants where the water supply had been deliberately switched off or damaged.

Read more on:    port elizabeth  |  service delivery  |  protests

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