As municipal taps remain dry, Hammanskraal communities outside Pretoria continue to go to great lengths for drinking water.
One year ago, OurHealth reported on water shortages in the Tshwane communities of Stinkwater and Eersterust where residents of self-built and RDP houses complained about a lack of functioning communal taps. Many in these communities rely continue to rely on water from privately-owned boreholes.
Kgaogelo Mogalaka stays in an RDP house in the Stinkwater community of Refentse. With a husband and four children, Mogalaka says she pays up to R1.50 for 25 litres of water.
“Imagine how much water I need daily in this household to bath, clean, cook and do washings, “ she tells OurHealth. “It takes a lot of hard work – and money – just to get 50 litres of water.”
Fellow Refentse resident Johanna Maluleke suffers from a large painful, growth on her neck. Doctors say the growth cannot be removed without risking serious damage to blood vessels. Maluleke echoed Mogalaka’s complaints about the regular physical labour needed to access water.
“I have a growth behind my neck that causes me unbearable pain especially if I do hard work,” Maluleke says. “I have to push a wheelbarrow of water each second day in order to have water in my house.”
“It’s tough work, especially in my condition, but I have no choice,” she adds.
Refentse community leader Frans Mathibela said that the lack of access to water also affects santaition.[quote float= left]”The water tankers are not always there to supply water as we are promised and we sometimes we spend two to three days without any water…”
“Apart from just hard work of fetching water from tankers and boreholes, we have problems with toilets because there’s no water,” he says. “We are currently using pit toilets, (but) our yards are too small to accommodate a space for (another latrine) if the first one is full.”
Areas of RDP housing in Stinkwater have also been affected by water shortages in Hammanskraal that are expected to be alleviated once a project is completed to channel water from the Soshanguve reservoir.
Until then, water trucks continue to fill up water tanks in the area, but Stinkwater resident Selina Kekana says supply is sporadic.
“The water tankers are not always there to supply water as we are promised and we sometimes we spend two to three days without any water delivered to our area,” she told OurHealth.
According to The City of Tshwane spokesperson, Lindela Mashego the municipality is upgrading the Temba Water Purification Plant to cope with increased demand in the Hammanskraal area and to improve water quality. Mashego could not say when upgrades to the plant would be completed.
He also urged Hammanskraal area residents to report the misuse of water tanks, including residents who have claimed tanks for their own use, to officials on 012 717 2896.