Tempers inflamed over water crisis

Kamva Mokoena

Residents of Kokstad and nearby townships have threatened to embark on a massive protest against water cuts.

The community blames the Sisonke district municipal water department for the lack of water in Kokstad and nearby townships since Monday.

The Usher Memorial Hospital, businesses and residents were forced to operate without water.

The community has formed a Water Crisis Committee to engage the authorities on the crisis.

In response the Kokstad council has appointed a delegation to discuss the issue with the district municipality. The council wants water control to be managed by the local municipality.

Some local councillors are reportedly living in fear of their lives after being allegedly threatened by angry residents.

Water problems in the area started in 2004 after the Sisonke district municipality took over the management of water and sanitation.

Residents complain that when they do have running water, it is unpurified and causes stomachaches.

A member of the Water Crisis Committee, Francois Rogers, who is also a local businessman said they will campaign for water control to be removed from the Sisonke municipality.

"Since Sisonke took over Kokstad's water control we have been experiencing a crisis for years," said Rogers.

A Sisonke water department official said: "We are giving this matter our utmost attention and have set aside R59million to improve the situation."