Strug­gle for wa­ter makes life hard

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - NEWS - MANYANE MANYANE

MANTWA Modibedi from the Ma­luti-a-Pho­fung Mu­nic­i­pal­ity in Qwaqwa is forced to risk her and her fam­ily’s health by us­ing dirty wa­ter from lo­cal dams.

That is if there is any as the short­age of wa­ter in the area reaches cri­sis lev­els.

The 56-year-old mother said the area has been with­out clean run­ning wa­ter since 2011.

It took 45 min­utes to walk to the dam and back for wa­ter, she added, which was hard for older peo­ple.

Last week, irate res­i­dents like Modibedi took to the streets to vent their anger, cit­ing the lack of elec­tric­ity and poor wa­ter sup­plies.

The protests turned vi­o­lent as res­i­dents looted and van­dalised shops, closed roads by burn­ing tyres and placed huge rocks on them. A pro­tester was killed and scores were in­jured.

Mu­nic­i­pal work­ers

also downed tools claim­ing their med­i­cal and other ben­e­fits were not paid. Ma­luti-a-Pho­fung owes the Depart­ment of Wa­ter and San­i­ta­tion more than R200 mil­lion, and Eskom R2.2 bil­lion.

Res­i­dents have ac­cused the mayor, Vusi Tsha­bal­ala, of cor­rup­tion, al­leg­ing he mis­uses pub­lic funds and gives ten­ders to his friends and cronies. He did not re­spond to emails and sms’s.

Asked for com­ment, Ma­luti-aPho­fung spokesper­son Ked­i­bone Sen­tle de­nied that Botjha­bela has been with­out wa­ter since 2011.

She said the short­age was be­cause the Free State was one of prov­inces hard hit by drought.

Sen­tle blamed age­ing in­fra­struc­ture, which she said the mu­nic­i­pal­ity was up­grad­ing to ac­com­mo­date the grow­ing pop­u­la­tion.

Mantwa Modibedi at her un­fin­ished RDP house.

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