Gift of the Givers bring much-needed water to Makhanda homes
The taps have been dry in many high-lying areas for days, say residents, even though there’s water in the dams
- Donkey carts, vehicles and scores of people with young children from Makhanda queued to fill their containers at a water tanker provided by the Gift of the Givers on Thursday.
- The organisation has been trucking water and much-needed disaster relief to communities as the Makana Local Municipality battles a crippling water crisis.
- In a statement on Thursday, the municipality warned residents that water would be turned off for the day, though taps have been dry in many high-lying areas in Makhanda for days.
- But the dams have water and a residents’ association blames the municipality for the water shortage.
Donkey carts, vehicles and scores of people with young children from Makhanda, Eastern Cape have been queuing to fill their containers at a water tanker provided by the Gift of the Givers on Thursday.
The organisation has been trucking water and much-needed disaster relief to communities as the Makana Local Municipality battles a crippling water crisis.
In a statement on Thursday, the municipality warned residents that water would be turned off for the day. Though taps have been dry in many high-lying areas in Makhanda for four days. These parts of the town often don’t get water even on the scheduled days they are meant to be supplied.
The City has urged people to use water sparingly, once water is available, to prolong availability to all users. “Night restrictions remain enforceable, in order to prolong water availability.”
The municipality said that there was “mechanical problem on the intake valve of Howiesonspoort, which is being attended to” and that water trucks would be sent to affected areas.
Sibongile Mtshali, who lives in Hooggenoeg, said she waited for three hours for the municipality’s water truck to arrive on Wednesday. She was carrying two 20-litre buckets filled with water when we spoke to her.
“I’m going to drop these and get another two buckets. I don’t want to suffer and be without water. I can’t afford not to bathe. My kids do not go to school because of dirty school uniforms,” said Mtsahli.
Mvumeli Yako from Phumalani location told GroundUp that streets become chaotic once a water truck arrives. “Everyone runs, grannies and little children. It’s too hard!” said Yako.
Tammy Bennet from Donkin Street in town said that even on days that they are meant to have access to water, the taps merely drip.
Anita Manyati from Vukani location said they have not had water since Tuesday.
Gift of the Givers project manager Ali Sablay told GroundUp that the organisation had deployed its water tanker truck with 10,000 litres of water to help alleviate the impact in the worst-affected areas.
“Our water tanker does three rounds a day and sometimes four rounds providing water to the communities of Makhanda. Our truck is deployed every second day in Makhanda.
“Our borehole at Ntsika Secondary School in Extension 7 is working around the clock providing the community with clean drinking water,” said Sablay.
Makana Residents Association secretary, Tim Bull, believes that the issue is not that the dams are empty but rather with the municipal administration. “I visited the dams recently. Howiesons Poort dam is at 100% and Settlers 45%, in total this is more than a year’s worth of water. It is not clear that the James Kleynhans upgrade will solve much until we have a functioning municipality,” said Bull.
He said the municipality’s current response by alternating water on and off on certain days has only exacerbated their water woes. “Makana employs seven plumbers, but they are heavily constrained from fixing leaks because most of their bakkies are at the workshop. They are also hampered because materials to fix pipes are not ordered in time, causing unnecessary delay and greater water loss,” claims Bull.
Municipal spokesperson Anele Mjekula did not respond to questions that were sent on 14 April.
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