Eastern Cape villages without water for almost two weeks

A broken water pipe has left a number of villages with no water for almost two weeks in Cofimvaba, Eastern Cape.

Some schools have been left without water for almost two weeks in the Cofimvaba area.
Image: GroundUp / Nombulelo Damba-Hendrik

The problem started on July 22. GroundUp was in these villages from July 26 to 31 and there was no water. At the time of publication, on August 2, water had not yet been restored.

On a visit to the Duli Primary School in Luxhomo village, pupils said the school had told them to bring their own water from home. But their homes are also without water.

One pupil said he had been at school since 7.30am and would leave at 2.30pm without having had any water to drink.

“I was hoping that this tap has a little water since it is also supported by a small tank,” he said, kneeling at an outside standpipe near the school.

When the school asked Chris Hani District Municipality to deliver water to them, they were given a quotation of R1,000.

“The municipality has no obligation to transport water for those schools at no cost,” said municipal spokesperson Thobeka Mqamelo.

She said it was the responsibility of the department of education. She said water is provided for communities and schools benefit because they are part of the community.

However, in Luxhomo and Magwala villages there was no water for the community either.

Mandungwana Mhlanga of Magwala said: “This area has no river and even the small dams we have are for animals. No one can drink that water.

“Since last week I have been surviving with the three 20 litre cans I got when water came back for a few hours. I only use it to cook and drink. My three grandchildren are using one wet towel to wash.”

Mqamelo said the municipality was working around the clock to repair the damage. She confirmed that the water problem started on July 22. She said Magwala and Luxhomo were supplied by Tsojana Dam. An electricity outage had meant water could not be pumped to all areas fed by the dam.

On July 25, electricity was restored, but on July 29 a water pipe burst, she said.

But there was no water there in the time that we were in the villages, which included the period from July 26 to 29.

– Originally published on GroundUp.

BY NOMBULELO DAMBA-HENDRIK FOR GROUNDUP

Source: TMG Digital

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