Zululand Observer - Weekender
One year without water
RESIDENTS of Gobihlahla and eMasangweni reserves under Ubuka Tribal Authority have been without water for almost a year.
They claim their taps went dry in March 2020.
Nelisiwe Gazu (59) of Gobihlahla Reserve in ward 11 under uMthonjaneni Local Municipality, said they survive by fetching water from the local stream.
‘We fight for water with donkeys, cattle, goats and even dogs every day. ‘We have been neglected and we are suffering.
‘After our taps went dry, they provided us with water from tankers once a month, but since August the water tanker deliveries have stopped.
‘Everybody is aware of our ordeal. We are forced to drink filthy water, we don’t have a choice. Our children are using the same water to wash their white school shirts,’ Gazu said.
The local Induna, Musa Buthelezi said residents do not have a choice but to share the stream with animals.
‘Many areas within Ubuka Tribal Authority do not have water. Everyone in this village depends on this stream as we don’t have rivers in this area. ‘Government representatives are aware of our plight, but nothing is happening,’ he said.
Ward 11 councillor, David Xulu said he has tried several times to obtain a solution from the King Cetshwayo District Municipality, but the challenge persists.
‘The district municipality has failed to resolve this issue, and is failing to provide us with proper answers.
‘They told us the contract for the two water tankers that were supplying this community was terminated in August.
‘These tankers were supplying water to eight wards, which was one of the reasons that caused them to attend to this community only once a month.
‘Now they have stopped all water provision in this area.
‘This is happening while the country is facing the Covid-19 pandemic. I have written numerous letters to the district to address this serious matter, but nothing has come forth.
‘We have asked them to drill nine boreholes, as I believe we have sufficient water underground, but they have ignored my proposal,’ Xulu said.
He claimed that King Cetshwayo District Deputy Mayor, Cllr Bhekani Phungula recently promised residents that he would again allocate water tankers, but that is yet to happen.
‘During our protest last year, the district municipality promised to allocate tankers to provide us with water,’ said eMasangweni Reserve ward 9 resident, Sibongile Mthiyane.
‘But that was for only a few days and, to date, there is no regular water supply. Water is life, we need it to drink, wash and cook,’ she said.
King Cetshwayo Deputy Mayor, Cllr Bhekani Phungula said water supply is hindered by major infrastructure vandalism.
‘These areas receive their water supply from Phobane dam and vandalism occurs en route to these areas, preventing water from reaching various destinations.
‘When the water infrastructure vandalism continued, we resorted to the services of water tankers.
‘The use of tankers is not reliable, and we don’t have enough money to buy more trucks.
‘What we normally do is take tankers from other areas and channel them to those affected places, but it is hard to monitor them regularly.
‘We are planning to start a campaign to engage with traditional leaders, such as Izinduna, to warn the communities about the dangers of vandalising water infrastructure.
‘For now, we will send water tankers to these areas to assist while we are trying to fix the problems.’
Thirsty humans and animals fight over stream water