The Limpopo villages of Helula and Tshikondeni depend on municipal water trucks for safe, clean water but now villagers claim that trucks are delivering filthy water from a nearby river.
“(Municipal workers) deliver us dirty water from the nearest river,” alleges Ntshandukeleni Nembodi. “They don’t even bother to clean the water first because they know that they are not the ones who are going to use it.”
Aifheli Tshishonge from Helula agrees.
“They don’t do anything to change the way they find the water but they deliver it like that,” he said. “It was going to be better if they let us go and fetch the water ourselves because the river is near.”
According to Nembodi, she has been waiting more than five years for communal taps.
Meanwhile, taps in Helula are aging.
“The taps are only few and old around the village and there is no water coming out of them,” Tshishonge told OurHealth. “They are only here to decorate the streets of our village while we get dirty water from the river.”[quote float=”right”]”They don’t even bother to clean the water first because they know that they are not the ones who are going to use it”
OurHealth went to the Mutale municipal offices in Tshilamba where the mayor directed us to Ward Councillor Sylvia Thambatshira. When asked about the allegedly dirty water, Thambatshira said it was the first she had heard of the complaints.
“It has never before been reported that the water was delivered dirty so we will have to first look into that before any actions are taken,” she told OurHealth. “Both villages are on a list of villages that need to have taps inserted before the end of this year.”
However, Nembodi said that the community had previously reported the issue to Thambatshira.
“The issue of dirty water has been reported several times so I do not understand what she means by, ‘it has never been reported,’” she said. “(Local government) is always promising to store taps but they do not deliver.”
Read more stories from Health-e News’ water investigation:
- Water trucks take over as communities run dry
- Residents left to plead for water at school gates
- R300 million slated to improve Madibeng Municipal water
- Water crisis looms in Kestell, Free State
- Water shortage sparks diarrhoea cases
- Bethlehem informal residents beg water off neighbours
- Municipality installs pump but community can’t foot electrical bill
- Tshwane communities survive on a trickle of water