Kokstad on the boil over water crisis

THREAT: Angry Kokstad residents at a meeting where they threatened to take the streets over water shortages. © Sowetan.
THREAT: Angry Kokstad residents at a meeting where they threatened to take the streets over water shortages. © Sowetan.

Kamva Mokoena

Kamva Mokoena

Kokstad residents, including pensioners and business owners, have vowed to take to the streets if the water shortage crisis in the town is not sorted out within 14 days.

The community, fed-up with the ongoing water cuts and unpurified water supply, gathered at the local town hall on Monday to vent their anger.

Municipal officials, including councillors and the mayor, met with the community at an emotionally charged meeting.

According to residents, problems only started when the Sisonke District Municipality took over management of the water and sanitation in 2004.

The meeting also learnt that other towns under the Sisonke District Municipality were faced with similar water-shortage problems. Some in the community want the water management to be under the control of the Kokstad Municipality.

Kokstad Mayor Mbulelo Sithole appealed to the community to give his administration a month to sort out the problems but the community rejected this suggestion.

"A month is too long. We want answers in 14 days," said an irate Kokstad businessman, Mark Gilliver. He said business and the community had already lost a lot because of the water shortage.

Residents have been forced to drink unpurified water since last Monday. Local businesses, including Usher Memorial Hospital, have had to operate without water.

Former Kokstad mayor who is now a member of the Water Crises Committee, Mlungiseleli Nyembezi, supported Gilliver and said: "If we don't get an answer in 14 days we will embark on a massive protest action."

Sithole said he will soon engage authorities such as Sisonke and the province about the community's threat. He also promised to bring water and sanitation control back under Greater Kokstad Municipal Management.

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