Community demands clean water

Two young mothers fetching water from a dam which they share with animals
Written by Cynthia Maseko
Two young mothers fetching water from a dam which they share with animals

Two young mothers fetching water from a dam which they share with animals

The people of Skaaprus, almost 10km away from Ermelo, get their water from a stream they share with animals.

“We have been struggling to get clean water for the past 25 years,” said Thabsile Bongwe, 57 years old.

“The ward counselor and her committee members keep promising us that things will change because they want us to vote for them, but nothing has changed.

“We are cooking and washing with water we share with animals. It’s not healthy at all. Sometimes cows relive themselves in the water but we continue using it even when the water smells of cow dung.

“Its feels like we are forgotten. But we do vote when it’s time for elections for better life as we are always promised, but there’s nothing better in this community. Where is the ANC that we voted for? We want our president to come here to see how bad our living conditions are. ’’

Nurse Madonsela, a ward committee member for Ward 16 of the Msukaligwa municipality, has been living in the small community near a mine for 15 years.

“It is still a challenge to access basic services such as electricity, water, proper sanitation facilities and health care. The stream is the only reliable source of water we have in this community. Two months back, the committee invited the ward counselor to address the community on challenges we are having. Until today, we are still waiting for her. Since the year has started she hasn’t talk to the people or addresses our problems.”

Deli Malinzisa, a mother of two, said: In order for us to get clean water for our children, we have to wake up 12am because the water tank comes at night only.  When it rains, we also use that water.

“I know this may seem heartless but if a community member dies, we all know that we will get clean water. We have to wait for the bereaved family first to get water from the tank truck then we can follow after that.”  

Zodwa Nkosi, the ward counselor for Ward 16, Msukaligwa Municipality agreed that it was a challenge to service the community. “We managed to build one water borehole in 0ctober 2012 but it’s broken now. The municipality is providing clean water by tank that delivers every day around 4pm, and it’s not true that they deliver the water at night.

“We had a meeting with the mine management because we want to connect a water pipe from the mine water system so that the community can get clean water. The community was also asked to move to another place where the municipality could relocate them and build houses for them, but they refused.

I stayed in the area from 12 noon until 17h00 but I did not see any water truck delivering clean water.


About the author

Cynthia Maseko

Cynthia Maseko joined OurHealth in 2013 as a citizen journalist working in Mpumalanga. She is passionate about women’s health issues and joined Treatment Action Campaign branch as a volunteer after completing her matric. As an activist she has been involved with Equal Treatment, Planned Parenthood Association of South Africa, Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV and also with Marie Stopes Clinic’s project Blue Star dealing with the promotion of safe abortions and HIV education.

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