Residents angry at ongoing brown water crisis
By Beatrice Shongwe
With claims from the municipality that plans are well under way to alleviate Emalahleni’s ongoing water problems, residents nonetheless this week took to the streets to protest the dirty brown water still flowing from taps.
“For the past month, we have been without water. This problem is not new; eMalahleni residents are still getting dirty water on a daily basis. Most people are unemployed and have to surrender and consume the dirty water and use for their daily house chores,” said an angry resident Nozipho Mnisi.
She said the only time they don’t have to drink dirty water is when one has money to buy a few litres from the shop. Those who cannot afford this must boil the water before drinking it.
eMalahleni has been experiencing a shortage of water, a problem compounded by the flow of dirty brown water from the taps for some time. Since Monday morning, 12 September 2016 angry community members have been embarking on a service delivery strike to express their grievance.
According to online analysis tool Wazimap, 87.8% of residents in eMalahleni are getting water from a regional or local service provider.
Another resident, Thabo Baloyi said the streets also have a lot of potholes; nothing has been done by the councillors or authorities to address the matter.
“We have a lot of issues around eMalahleni and nothing has been said or done about it. The issue of water has been there for a long time – some people have been reported sick because of it,” said Baloyi.
But eMalahleni municipal manager Theo Van Vuuren said water in eMahlaleni has improved significantly in both capacity and quality over the past few years.
“eMalahleni’s water situation has improved. However, with a very old infrastructure base we are suffering huge losses due to pipe bursts as well as sporadic problems in areas with water quality and availability,” he said. Van Vuuren said that the current source was mainly the Witbank Dam but this has limitations in extraction.
According to Van Vuuren, the municipality was urgently developing alternative and supplementary supplies to augment the water availability.