Heat stressed Mangaung residents without water for over a week

The South African Weather Service has advised people to drink a lot of water during the heatwave that’s hit the country. But this is a big ask of people in Mangaung in Bloemfontein who have been without water for over a week now. 

“We lack water at the clinic and our people should drink a lot of water whilst enduring the heat. We have treated three people who had signs of dehydration and they were put on a drip and they have since been released,” says Vuyisile Xhaka Xhaka, a nurse at Potlako Motlohi clinic in Botshabelo. 

“The heat doesn’t only cause dehydration, it can destroy someone’s skin. People should use umbrellas, wear long-sleeve clothing and hats when going out in the sun. We know that the sun can cause skin cancer. They should use sun block on their skin for protection.”

High temperatures are predicted to persist into the week. 

Issues with restoring water 

Spokesperson Qondile Khedama says the municipal engineers are hard at work fixing the problem which emanated from when the Vaal Central Waters (VCW) was fixing main pipes feeding Botshabelo, Thaba Nchu and Bloemfontein. 

“We would like to assure residents affected by prolonged water supply interruptions that the City together with VCW is working around the clock to ensure the full restoration of Water,” he says.

The problem has also escalated to central Bloemfontein where the municipal headquarters had to close early on Monday morning.

“We further inform the residents that the Bram Fischer building will be closed from 11H30 due to water supply interruption in the building,” says Khedama. 

Residents bearing the cost

Residents say the water cuts have cost them financially and health wise. 

Tambo Mazwethu is a businessman running a restaurant in Botshabelo. He says he has been paying R500 a day for transport to collect water to cook and clean at his business. “I have to pay for the transport that collects and delivers water here. And I must also provide water for drinking to my customers,” he says.

A resident, Nobuhle Ndaga adds that lack of water in her area has caused her and others to walk long distances to seek water. “Municipality could’ve waited with their renovations until temperatures went down. Now we are supposed to endure the heatwave with no water.” 

Earlier Mangaung municipality reported that it had dispatched water tankers to the areas where the water cuts have been severe. However not a single tanker was confirmed in any of the affected areas.

Ndaga says statements on water tankers being sent into communities are false. “ The metro should stop lying that it has dispatched water tankers to us. There are no water tankers in Mangaung.” – Health-e News

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