Enough of dirty wa­ter!

PROTESTS: RES­I­DENTS BLOCK ROADS, BURN TYRES, FORCE SCHOOLS TO CLOSE

The Citizen (KZN) - - News - Alex Mat­lala – [email protected]­i­zen.co.za

Com­mu­nity de­mands min­is­ter, pre­mier must address them.

Apall of smoke hung over the town of Moutse on the bor­der be­tween Lim­popo and Mpumalanga yes­ter­day af­ter an­gry res­i­dents burned tyres and bar­ri­caded all roads lead­ing to schools and other gov­ern­ment premises in a bid to force Lim­popo Pre­mier Stan Matha­batha and Wa­ter and San­i­ta­tion Min­is­ter Lindiwe Sisulu to lis­ten to their griev­ances.

By noon, schools were tem­porar­ily closed, along with shop­ping com­plexes such as Moutse Mall, and the usu­ally busy Moloto Road be­tween Pre­to­ria and Grob­lers­dal

was a no-go area.

The res­i­dents, in the early hours of the morn­ing, used tree trunks and burn­ing tyres to close the road. They also built walls with bricks on the busy road to block traf­fic.

The res­i­dents claimed they had spent over six months with­out clean, run­ning wa­ter.

“We have had it with gov­ern­ment’s empty prom­ises,” said protest or­gan­iser Sipho Msiza dur­ing the march yes­ter­day.

“It can never be busi­ness as usual when our peo­ple con­tinue to drink dirty wa­ter that is also used by wild an­i­mals.”

Msiza said the com­mu­nity would con­tinue with the protest un­til Sisulu and Matha­batha ad­dressed them.

He said they have de­cided to make sure that no one goes to school or work un­til the two lead­ers ex­plain to them when they are go­ing to have clean, run­ning wa­ter.

An­other res­i­dent, Seun Mo­gotji, who was also part of the protest, said women were al­ways at the re­ceiv­ing end of the wa­ter short­age be­cause they were ex­pected by their fam­i­lies to cook for them, bath and wash with the

wa­ter.

He said the wa­ter short­age con­tin­ued even when Sekhukhune district mu­nic­i­pal­ity re­ceived grants from the na­tional depart­ment of wa­ter and san­i­ta­tion and the Lim­popo pro­vin­cial trea­sury.

“It is sur­pris­ing that the district has ap­pointed a ser­vice provider to de­liver a bulk wa­ter project in Moutse. But I am now baf­fled that the project is stalling,” said Mo­gotji. “We want Sisulu and Matha­batha to ex­plain why we do not have wa­ter 26 years af­ter democ­racy and why the project has been aban­doned,” he said.

Yes­ter­day, the mu­nic­i­pal­ity con­firmed that the area was ex­pe­ri­enc­ing se­ri­ous wa­ter short­ages but said the prob­lem was caused by per­sis­tent drought that neg­a­tively af­fected the level of wa­ter in Mkhombo Dam of Dr JS Moroka lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal­ity in Mpumalanga.

“In an en­deav­our to lessen the prob­lem, we have set aside money to the tune of R12 mil­lion to tanker wa­ter to Moutse un­til the com­ple­tion of the Moutse Bulk Wa­ter project,” Stan Ra­maila, mayor for the Sekhukhune district mu­nic­i­pal­ity, said yes­ter­day.

Ra­maila ap­pealed for calm and cau­tioned that while ev­ery­one had the right to protest, that right should not in­fringe on other peo­ple’s rights. He said it was wrong to bar­ri­cade roads and pre­vent pupils from go­ing to school and peo­ple from go­ing to work.

It can never be busi­ness as usual

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