Amidst water challenges, councillors train to remain healthy

Amidst water challenges, councillors train to remain healthyCouncillors stretch during the morning training session in the community hall. Photo: Teboho Setlofane / Health-e News

Morning exercise sessions are improving the health and wellness of Maluti-a-Phofung councillors. It also gives them an edge when dealing with concerns, such as the current water crisis.

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In the midst of water challenges in Maluti-a-Phofung municipality, the speaker of the municipal council, Tumelo Thebe has spearheaded councillors to take part in a Monday morning workout session to improve their fitness. It takes place every week. 

Healthy body for a robust mind

The workout exercises range from yoga, jogging, and soccer. According to Thebe, the aim of training sessions is to alleviate stress-related illnesses. “The exercise is to assist councillors manage everyday challenges with fresh minds and fit bodies. The intention is not necessarily for weight loss but for a body that is healthy to tolerate the stress that comes with the job,” says Thebe. 

He explains the training sessions are also good team-building exercises in an entertaining manner as opposed to the usual tense debates in the office and council chamber. The councillors who take part, he says, get a chance to laugh and relax. 

What the community faces

Maluti-a-Phofung is experiencing water challenges as QwaQwa residents continue to get brown water from their taps. The exercises were met with harsh criticism from the community. Modise Makhalemele, a resident, says: “Health awareness starts with clean water from the tap.”

Joseph Memani asks: “How can you promote health awareness whilst water is from the taps is brown like coffee?“

Municipality spokesperson, Kedibone Sentle says the level of water at Fika Patso Dam, which supplies 80% of the municipality with water, is standing at below 15% due to less rain and climate change. The members of the community are receiving brown water because “water quality from the dam has drastically deteriorated and subsequently the water treatment plant is challenged to effectiveness”.

Expansion of the training

Sentle says Thebe recruited all the councillors of the local municipality and “others from the district municipality have also been recruited for the spirit of competitiveness”. Sentle adds that there are Thebe to introduce swimming as part of fitness training. – Health-e News 

An edited version of this story was published by Health24.