Townships face waterless festive season
By Pamella Mashego
Households in Thaba Chweu townships, Leroro, Matibidi, Lydenburg and other local areas say they face a waterless festive season. Water has always been a problem in these communities, but the past year has been the worst on record.
Constance Mashego (45) says Christmas is a time of joy and thanksgiving, but she questions how she will be able to complete her basic duties like cleaning her yard and cooking for her family without water.
“Our water supply has always been cut short; it is something that we became used to. However, for the past year this whole place has been dry as dust, and water being a basic need in our households, our lives have been more difficult since,” she says.
The municipality has a population of 98 387 people living in over 33 350 households, and a little over 20% of these households are in informal settlements.
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According to data analysis tool Wazimap, 71,5% of residents get water from a regional or local service provider, 7% from a river and 12% from a borehole.
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Tumelo Shai is a builder who makes a living out of building houses. Therefore “no water, no penny earned,” he says.
Residents say schoolchildren are walking long distances pushing wheelbarrows to fetch water from rivers or water tankers which only deliver once a week, and are missing school. And although many fear that river water may lead to deadly waterborne diseases such as cholera and dysentery, health comes second when water is a basic need in every household.
Currently water pumps are opened once a week and this is the only time residents have running water in their yards.
The Thaba Chweu Municipality says that this is a nationwide issue.
Spokesman Puleng Mapheto says this municipality, “is not the only one affected”, and is trying (like everyone else) to deal with the hot weather conditions which have put the whole country into a stranglehold.
The municipality meanwhile urges residents to use water sparingly and responsibly, to help “navigate through this difficult period”. – THABA CHWEU NEWS