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Water crisis looms in Kestell, Free State

Written by Mathilda Smous

With the construction of a promised dam delayed, residents of Kestell, Free State say that the lack of water risks their lives and their livelihoods.

Residents of Thlolong township in Kestell about 45 km east of Bethlehem were promised that construction on a nearby dam that would supply them with water would be completed by September. The dam remains under construction

Residents of Thlolong township in Kestell about 45 km east of Bethlehem were promised that construction on a nearby dam that would supply them with water would be completed by September. The dam is still under construction and residents say that they are now forced depend on irregular deliveries from water trucks or risk their safety trying to get water father afield.

According to resident Gloria Molefe people must queue for water from the trucks at a designated spot.

“Water trucks come (but they) do not go around to people’s streets,” she told OurHealth. “(They) stop at one designated place where people will queue to get water filled into the buckets.”

Another resident Madichoko Mazibuko added that trucks often deliver when many people are not home to collect water.

“There are water trucks that bring water at odd hours, for instance during the day when children are at school and parents are at work,” Mazibuko said. “In that arrangement, who will collect water?”

Some residents are left to walk across the township for water early in the morning when the risk of crime is high, she added.

Teboho Mosia, a pensioner in the township, added that without water, some residents could not grow the vegetable gardens from which they make a living.

“Some of us we are unemployed and we make vegetables gardens in our back yards,” Mosia said.  “Now the water we wash and bath with we also use it flush our toilets. How do we make a living without water?”

OurHealth attempted to contact Maluti-A-Phofung Local Municipality spokesperson Basie Ongara for comment on when the dam would be completed and what the municipality was doing to provide water in the meantime. Ongara could not be reached for comment.

Read more stories from Health-e News’ water investigation: 

 

About the author

Mathilda Smous

Mathilda Smous is an OurHealth Citizen Journalist reporting from the Free State’s Thabo Mofutsanyane Health District.