Forced to drink contaminated water for nearly two decades, residents of Tlapeng Village near Taung say the Covid-19 pandemic makes them even more vulnerable.

Existing health challenges

“We have been experiencing water challenges since 1999 and our health is now affected because I constantly have a running stomach and have pains on my waist,” says community member Emmanuel Tong. “When I went to the clinic nurses told me that this pain could be caused by the water we are consuming.”

The village has boreholes but these go dry for weeks, sometimes up to a month in a dry season. When there is no water in their area they have to travel nearly five kilometres on donkey carts to fetch water from neighbouring villages.

Handwashing is an essential part of preventing the spread of the coronavirus, but Tlapeng villagers do not have enough water even for this.

With the Covid-19 pandemic we fear for our lives because we do not have proper access to water. When we do, the water is dirty and we have to boil it before use,” says Tong.

“I have been constantly writing to various government departments but we have received no assistance up to so far,” he adds.

Waiting for assistance

The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) has taken water samples from Tlapeng Village, but have yet to return the results.  The department has distributed 177 tanks and 13 water trucks to the Dr Ruth Segomotsi District Municipality. None of these, have reached Tlapeng village, which falls under the municipality.

A North West village’s water woes are exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic

Tlapeng villagers forced to drink dirty water during pandemic